Thursday, June 28, 2012

Expecting a Baby

Helping Grannie, 1878

A New baby is coming into our life very soon. I cannot tell you how excited I am!    This blessing will be my very first grandchild.

Mr. White and I have been buying all kinds of things over the last several months.  We bought baby clothes, crib bedding, a baby seat, and tomorrow, we will buy a new crib and mattress.  I hosted the baby shower, here at the estate, just a few days ago. (I will share pictures with you next week.)

The expectant mother is my own daughter.  We have been spending many months talking about baby care, and pregnancy.  It has been such an incredible time.   I dearly love how much she is counting on me for support, encouragement and help.  I am grateful to be a housewife so I have all the free time to help guide her through all the different phases coming in her life.

I have been waiting such a long time to finally be a grandmother.  I am just delighted and grateful!

Mrs. White

We need more of these - The Old Time Housewife.

Encouragement - Ideas for a Happy Home.

What Would It Be Like - If I Visit You At the Dinner Hour.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dreading the Chores

Hide and Seek, circa 1880-82

This is one of those rainy days when all I want to do is sit and read.   I miss the fresh, warm summer air.  I miss hanging clothes on the line and walking the property.  As I look around the rooms this morning, I realize I cannot let the chores slip, just because of my slothful mood.

But I WILL sit around and read. I will do what I enjoy most, because I have that freedom. However, I will first spend a quick 30 minutes cleaning the house.  I will do my basic work first, then do what I want.

 It is kind of like remembering to eat your dinner before you have the dessert. Since we don't have someone around telling us what to do next, sometimes we can be lazy and unproductive.  Yet, we can't give in to that childishness.   How many of us have done this, as adults? We've eaten the cake or cookies before dinner and then spoiled our appetite.    We have the freedom to do the wrong thing, but we cannot allow ourselves to indulge in such behavior.

For me to rest and read first, would make me overly tired and I would no longer have the energy to do my chores.  The dinner must come first. The work must be done first. Then I will enjoy the dessert - the rest, the peace and the quiet.

Mrs. White

Start cleaning for the sweet memories- Remembering Ironing and Other Chores.

The Reality of Wedded Life - Not Happily Married.

A Blessing at Home to Have - A Housewife On Duty.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Painful Years of Motherhood

Waiting on the Verandah

One of the hardest things to do, as a Mother, is to watch your grown children out in the world. You hear about their trials and their struggles and you beg them to come home. . .

I have two adult children who live in the city.  They have done great things and are doing well. But every so often, over the years, terrible things happen and it breaks my heart. I want to save them. I want to have them home again, and for them to start over, and not leave until they feel ready.  But it is not for me to say. . .

When the worst of stories come, and the tears fall, I pray myself to sleep.  . . I read my Bible for comfort and I wait. . .

They know they are welcome here with us. They know they have a place to come home to. But they are still struggling through things I cannot stop.   Sometimes, I devise plans and say, "Well, you can have your old room back and we will do all the old fun things and it will be wonderful."  I am sure they sigh. I know it sounds good for a visit, but not to live back as a child.  An adult can never go back to those safe, secure years of living with Mother and Dad.  Still, I keep offering.

I realize these occasional heartaches are rare.  I realize that most of the time, they are fine and doing well.  Just like real life.  There are good times and horrible times.  None of us can predict trouble. We can't make life all rosy and sweet.  It is impossible.  Rough days will come. And even though it rends mother's heart with sorrow, we cannot take on the burden.  We give it to Him who knows all things.  We say, "Lord, take care of our children.  Lord, they are having trouble right now. You are in charge of them. Watch. . . and Guard. . . and protect them. . .  and get us all through this."

So I sit here at the estate. I sit on the porch or by the window and I wait for the day when they will come home.  The day they say, "I've had enough of the world and I want to start over."

 Someday, I will see them walk down the lane. Perhaps it is to come home for good. Or maybe it is to tell me they have found a better path and all is wonderful.  Whatever the case may be, tears of joy and relief will fall.  And those painful years will fade away as a distant memory.

Mrs. White

For those sad times of Motherhood - Childhood Home as the Nursery.

Quiet occupations - How a Housewife Passes the Time.

A Picture of my Children when they were Little - Suppertime with Precious Helpers.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Life Without a Telephone

Our Drawing Room at York

For the past few days, we have been without phone service.   It is amazing to hear an empty silence, which replaced a constant ringing phone.   Life seems more gentle without all the interruptions.  Things are  more slow - paced.

 If people need to reach us, they wait until we see them (on an outing) the following day.   Supposed "urgent" conversations are no longer necessary. 

The calls I need to make have become almost non-existent.    What used to be important to me, no longer feels essential.

I realize a phone has become almost required for everyone.  We certainly need them for emergencies.  But I wonder if phone use (and it's expense) has gotten out of hand.

Today, most people have cell phones. They are texting and calling each other several times a day.   We all have far too much instant access to each other. It makes it difficult to have quiet moments for creativity, family interaction in the home, and productivity.  (The expense alone, of cell phones, is staggering!)

It used to be that no one ever called during the dinner hour. That was family time.  Calls were made earlier in the day, or later in the evening. It was like a social respect of someone else's time, and privacy.   Sadly, this custom is no longer relevant in modern life.

 I wonder if phones have taken over our lives?  I realize we can use voice mail and answering machines to take messages, and we can return calls at a regular time each day.   But most of us don't do that.  We feel that, since the phone rang, we must answer it. We are programed to answer it!  If we don't, our imagination goes wild with worry about the missed call.

 But what we don't realize is that this cultural pressure to use the phone all the time, is taking away massive amounts of our life and money.

Will I get my phone back? Of course. But I am thinking of ways to keep it more simple.  There has to be a way to make the phone a tool, rather than a master.  Why does the telephone have such a stronghold on society?

 Could this be why parlours are generally empty and vacant of hospitality? Because we are too busy tied to the phone, or other types of technology?  

What about the money we are paying for this convenience.  Could, at least, some of it be better used for charity or the basic needs of those in our own homes?

Mrs. White

Ideas to Help -  Financial Survival in Hard Times.

Making Him Happy - Cooking for Mister.

Just like Grandmother's day - Rising While it is Yet Night.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Housekeeping

Houses in Perkins Cove, Ogunquit, Maine, USA

My husband and I both grew up in humble beach houses, in Massachusetts.  For us, summer time always felt like a vacation.  We can have this same feeling, even if we don't live near a beach.

Here in the mountains of Vermont, the summer days are short. The use of air conditioning is rare. We tend to rely on ceiling fans and window fans.  

In the early morning, I open the blinds just a little bit. The windows are open so we can feel the fresh air.  Then I close the sheer burgundy curtains to help block more of the heat from the sun. This helps keep the rooms cool and pleasant.

Housework and cooking are done in the early morning hours.  If I work quickly, I can have most of my work done, and a load of laundry on the clothesline by 9 a.m. This leaves me plenty of free time to enjoy the vacation - atmosphere that summer tends to bring.

It is the most fun when all of us are home together. We often have company over most days.  People tend to spend much more leisure time in the warm months than they do during the bitter winter season.

As strange as this may sound, I enjoy cleaning and organizing on hot summer mornings, more than any other time of year. This is probably because it is an excellent form of exercise, and brings great results in the form of a neat and tidy house.  There is nothing like hanging clothes on the line on a warm summer day.  Washing dishes throughout the day to make sure the family can enjoy bbq's, watermelon and ice cream makes me happy.    I also love to see the fans blowing, and a bit of warm sunlight sneaking through the window, making my clean house look like a humble vacation spot.

One of the most relaxing things to do, after my morning work is finished, is to sit outside in the heat of the day, with a cool drink, and watch the children laugh and play. 

When night falls, I do some last minute housework.  The house is dim, the family is quiet, and we are all resting.  We think about all the exciting things we've done during the day, and look forward to the next set of adventures.   

Being home, as a permanent fixture as a housewife, has many benefits.  I have so much freedom to manage this place and our finances in a way that we can all appreciate.   Because, really, if you think about it, being home all summer is a vacation for many people.  I am just grateful I can be home all year long.

Mrs. White

Keeping Busy with - Domestic Occupations.

A Living History - Homemaking Links the Generations.

Good Propaganda in the Home - Kitchen Sermons.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The 15 Minute Cleaning Helper

Helping Mother

I like to be fair about chores. When my children were little, they were each assigned certain tasks each day.  One was The Breakfast Hostess. Another was in charge of cooking supper.  And another had to keep the living room clean.  Each of my 5 children had specific work to do each day.

When I was growing up, our heavy cleaning happened on Saturday.  I was responsible for cleaning the bathtub, sweeping down the porch stairs and dusting the living room.  I also had daily responsibilities. But each of these jobs, divided between family members, kept our house fairly  neat and tidy.

No house is going to be clean all the time.  We will always have chores. We will always need to prepare food, clean our clothes, and sweep. But things can be kept decent when we have helpers.

As children get older, they have more outside activities and projects going on.  They are also less likely to want to hang around with Mom (smiles) and do housework all day.  So yesterday, I decided to call my teenage son over and tell him I needed him for just 15 minutes.  This was extra work, over and above his normal daily chores. 

I set the timer, and we worked quickly. He helped me sort old clothes, throw out extra clutter, do some laundry, and deep clean our dish-drainer.   I was delighted with the extra help and was happy to get a few piled up things accomplished.

Today, I plan to have another 15 minute cleaning burst with some of the children.  It makes things more fun.   I have a list of things I want cleaned and will put it on the kitchen table.  Each of us can pick and choose what we want to do. Once the work is finished, we are to put a check mark next to the job and then write down our initials (so we know who did what).  When I tried this stunt recently, my son did far more work than I did, and was gloating.

Another thing I like to do is have cleaning contests with my grown daughter.  (She lives 2 hours away from me.)  We call each other on the phone and then talk about what we are dreading for overdue housework.  Today, we decided to deep clean our bathrooms.  I am supposed to call her this afternoon and discuss our progress.  However, I had some extra energy early this morning and already finished!   

Finding creative ways to make housework fun is one of the greatest things we can do as mothers.

Other than doing a 15 minute cleaning job with my teenagers this afternoon, I think I deserve the rest of the day off from heavy cleaning duty.  I will just relax and plan a nice leisurely supper tonight.  I hope your day goes well!

Mrs. White

Need encouragment on extreme thrift?  My favorite book is "We Had Everything but Money."

When I realized I was overworking my children - A Cheerful and Willing Housekeeper.

Looking Back - When Television was Special.

Remembering my childhood Home - Saturday Morning Chores.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Housekeeping Staff

"Family Birthday Party", March 15, 1952

Wealthy families would employ a butler, a maid and a cook. There might even be a gardener and a chauffeur.  These homes were lovely places and were well-kept.  It was pleasant to have company over and enjoy the surroundings of a nicely - run home. 

Each employee had specific jobs:

The Butler -

   He was sort of like the administration staff and the host, all in one.  He would answer the door, handle phone calls, and sort the mail.  He would get tea, or direct the staff in what the boss needed. 

The Maid -

   This quiet worker, did all the housework. She was in charge of laundry, washing floors, making beds, polishing furniture and keeping the house in lovely condition.

The Cook -

    The cook had to plan the meals (based on the direction of the boss), get the shopping done, cook and bake, and serve the food.  The cook was also responsible for keeping her domain clean and neat.

The Gardener -

     He would tend the flowers, mow the grounds, remove weeds, handle bushes, plants and trees.  He was responsible for keeping the property in beautiful shape.

The Chauffeur -

    The driver took family members wherever they  needed to go.  This freed the passengers from worrying about getting places. They could relax in the car, do paperwork, enjoy the view and just relax.   (He also kept the car polished, clean and in excellent working order.)

Each worker served the family in a quiet, respectful way.  They did not intrude on the family's privacy.  The best workers did not gossip about their boss to the neighbors.  They protected the privacy and dignity of the family.   Most of all, they did not voice their opinions or complain about their work. They were greatly skilled and trained in their profession and were an asset to the home.

When times got tough, some of these families had to let the staff go.  This left the family, itself, to take on all the jobs.  Mothers, Fathers and children learned how to run their own homes.  They were weary, but took on the tasks as a challenge and did their best to keep things looking proper and pleasant. 

Over the years, families forgot about having a trained housekeeping staff.  They started to slack on all the jobs until a "lived-in" (messy) house became the joke of American culture. It became the norm.  People with lovely homes were ridiculed and made fun of for being "perfect" or "dull."    Somewhere along the line, we forgot how beautiful it can be to have a well-kept home, that would make even the traditional housekeeping staff proud.

The next time you have to "open your own door," or "cook your own food," or "drive yourself somewhere," please think of the home employees who do this for a living.  Do each task as if it were your profession, and bring back the loveliness and pride of HOME!

Mrs. White

The Importance of - The Skilled Housewife.

Enjoying Housework - Peacefully Occupied.

Home Economics - The Thrifty Kitchen.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Families Investing in the United States

US Government Bonds

During rough times in our country, citizens were encouraged to buy US treasury bonds.   In the movie, For Me and My Gal (starring Gene Kelly and Judy Garland), rallies were held, and the people would buy the bonds with pride.

My Grandfather was a laborer and worked hard his entire life. He was Italian and had a tremendous work ethic.  He raised his family near the coast in Massachusetts.  Every payday, he would cash his check at the local supermarket and buy a bond.   Not only was he investing in our country, he was investing, very carefully, to provide an estate for his family. 

When I first got married, I was given a Treasury Bond, which had been bought in my name when I was born.  This was another way to invest in the country, and in the family.

There are many corporations that are employee - owned because of stocks. Those people take great pride in their work and in their companies. I wonder what would happen if a resurgence of investing in America happened.  What would happen if US Citizens started buying bonds again.  What if we started investing in our own country?

There needs to be a revival of investing in our nation.   We need a nation that is in the habit of saving money.  Buying Treasury Bonds is like buying a piece of our country. It is like buying our history and taking possession of it. 

Yet, there is more at stake than just money here. We need to focus on raising our families who take pride in being United States citizens. We need our children to be taught to honor their elders, work hard, help the poor, and to be grateful for currency that says, "In God We Trust." 

Mrs. White

Remembering the Old Days - Mrs. or Miss and Other Titles of Respect.

Having a Precious Attitude - The Gentle Art of Home Keeping.

The Fun of Home Life - Mother's Dinner Bell.

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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.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Home Visit

Small cottage flower shop, Keukenhof Gardens, Lisse, Netherlands
"Small cottage flower shop, Keukenhof Gardens, Lisse, Netherlands"

My new garden is such fun. I act like I know what I am doing, and just look at the growing plants each day.  One of my boys does the watering.  (The watering can has gotten too heavy for me.)  We have several petite gardens throughout the property.  There is a section by the front window, plants on the front porch, a raised bed on the front yard, some plants on a picnic table in the back, and a larger plot back by the river.  So I walk all over the place to check on them.  I noticed that flowers grow on strawberry and cantaloupe plants.   I can also see some sign of new growth in my green pepper plants.   Since this is the first time I have ever had a garden, I am amazed by the progress.

I have several errands to do today. I will do some homeschooling with John, my youngest at 14.  When the children were younger, I would read them inspiring books. Now I think I will have John read books to me. We will start with Teddy's Button.   It is an incredible story that I read years ago. I want to hear the story again.  Maybe I can sit in the back yard while John reads to me?

Last night I did some vacuuming and polishing. Have you ever just missed housework?   Or longed for extra time just to clean, for the peacefulness and happiness of it? I don't mean cleaning a horrid mess, I mean the very simple tasks of sweeping a floor or polishing a stove? These little chores brighten the home and make everyone feel happy and comfortable.

I think I will bake chocolate chip muffins early this evening.   It will be a nice treat for all of us. 

I wish I could visit longer, but I better get some housework done. I hope you have a great weekend!

Mrs. White

A Little Smile for those  Difficult Days - Daydreaming about Housekeeping.

Craving - A Home with Character.

For those Very Rough Times - Trouble with Teenagers.

Please strive to be one of these!! - A Wife Who Does Not Complain.

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Growing up Ziglar

Book - Growing up Ziglar by Julie Ziglar Norman

Publisher - Guideposts

Paperback, 170 pages

We've all heard of Zig Ziglar, the motivational speaker who has helped change many lives for the good.  His upbeat, positive outlook on life has inspired a nation.  His daughter Julie wrote a book about her life of repeatedly making mistakes and wrong choices.  Despite growing up in such a privileged household, Julie lived a negative, destructive life. I love how she doesn't blame her parents. She knows she made her own choices. She adores her famous father and has been there for him and helped him with his work for her entire life. 

Julie's story will encourage many people for a variety of reasons:

1.   Mothers will see that no matter how hard we work as parents, our children will still make their own decisions. This encourages us tremendously! 

2.  Those who have had a difficult life, like Julie, will be comforted, supported, and find hope in achieving a good future, despite a painful past.  Julie does an incredible job of describing very painful circumstances in her life. These may bring tears to your eyes, like it did to me.  But her guidance and advice through her words, will certainly bring healing to those who are suffering.

3.  Christians looking for God's will in their  life, will find instruction and hope in Julie's story.

4.  One of the most profound messages in this book is that God loves us dearly and accepts us right where we are. Julie discusses how terrible she felt after trying so hard to do right, but kept falling back into sin.  When she finally broke this cycle and understood God's incredible grace, she was able to heal. Because of this, her life began to bear fruit, and be a blessing to others.

5. Those who struggle with a difficult marriage, will be greatly encouraged by Julie's triumphant marriage testimony.

6. The loving Father, Daughter relationship of Julie and Her father is precious!

This Guideposts book would make an excellent addition to any Church library, where congregants could easily borrow a copy. It would also be wonderful for home libraries. I hope that people share copies of this with one another, or buy extra for gifts.  The message is that important!

*Disclosure - I received this book  for review purposes. It is part of a Litfuse blog tour. *

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

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Church Yard

Razzberry Creek Crossing

Seventeen years ago, I visited Cades Cove  in rural Tennessee. I have often thought of that place. There were small, rustic old cabins. This is the type of housing the frontiers-people lived in during the 1800's.  As we walked along, looking at the beautiful, quiet surroundings of the woods and simple structures, I was in awe.

Soon we came across a Church yard.   The simple building spoke of a time when ornate designs, or furnishings, were impossible for the pioneer families who resided there. Their life revolved around the most basic and essential things - Bible, Food, Shelter, Survival, Family and the Church.  I didn't see a single store.  But what keeps drawing me back to the memory of Cades Cove is the gravestones. 

We read the names of so many people. There were small children, babies, elderly, and husbands with their wives. The dates were in the 1800's and it was just amazing to realize that these godly people lived in that very spot.

There were also sayings on the graves.  Sweet words of comfort to onlookers, like Something from the Bible.  The wives also had the most precious words:  "Beloved Wife and Mother." Because that was the focus of those women's lives.  That was what mattered more than anything else in the world.

Every now and then, we need to look back at different times and places in American History, so that we may understand what is happening to our culture. We cannot allow ourselves to be so "Americanized" that we lose our heritage and our traditions.  Modernism and changes will always come quickly.  . . Just like the wind, which we can feel but not see.  If we are strong and stable in our historic roots, nothing will be able to shake us.

Mrs. White

Life during hard times - When There Isn't Much.

Taking Pride in One's Work - When Mother is the Maid.

The Way it Was before Feminism - The Old Time Housewife.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Getting Along in Marriage

Mother serving a turkey on a platter

Stress and trials in daily life can cause fights in marriage.  Husband and Wife may argue about money, bills, the condition of the house, or the children.  A Husband might be angry with his wife for neglecting what she is supposed to do, while a wife might be angry with her husband for his hostility or mistreatment.  All this can be avoided, or lessened, if we use the most important technique in marriage.  It is so simple, yet so difficult!

It is all about using social manners.   It is common courtesy to show emotional restraint in public.  We must avoid creating a "scene" when we are upset. We hold back our frustration and anger for the good of those around us.  When a lady acts with such control, she is considered to be dignified and admirable.

We must learn, on a daily basis, no matter how often we are tempted to act otherwise, that we must act with grace in private, just as we would in public.

For those who tend to let their anger erupt and blow off steam to those around them, they must learn, by constant practice, to get control of their emotions.  It is extremely selfish to rant and rave and insult and blame when we are upset.  We cannot allow ourselves to get so angry that we lose our dignity. We must learn good manners.

Getting along in marriage, requires the skill of polite communication, no matter the circumstances around us.   For a husband and wife to 'fight fair' they should remember a few things:

1. They will have differences of opinions and will annoy each other. Expect this. We are all human and have flaws.   Have enough compassion to let these things go.

2. Avoid fighting in front of guests or your children.  To fight in front of others is one of the most selfish things we can do.  It shows a lack of restraint.  It shows a lack of dignity.

3. Never bring up past hurts.  It will only prolong a fight and make it more extreme.

4. Remember that it is normal to be upset with others, even those we love, but we should never allow our scathing words to rend the heart.  To make it plain  - watch your mouth!  . . Guard your words!

5. Never, ever, ever talk about your spouse in a negative way to others.   Guard the privacy of your home. This is an essential part of good manners.

An example of good manners in marriage reminds me of The Waltons. The storekeeper's wife referred to her husband as "Mr. Godsey."  She only called him by his first name during private moments.  

When we wives learn how to use proper communication and emotional restraint in our daily lives, our good manners are observed by our children. They will learn from this. This will affect them for good and not evil.  Sadly, in this current "me-centered" society, it will take tremendous effort to practice proper manners in daily life. It will be an ongoing battle with our words and thoughts.  But it is worth every bit of effort! 

Remember this - a lady will use good manners even when no one else does. She will do this even if there is no reward.  She will do this because it is the right thing to do.

The joy of a happy marriage is based on a wife as the center of good morals, virtue and loveliness. This is all clearly seen by her behavior.  And it brings a light of beauty into a cold, sad world.

Mrs. White

The Stages of Child Raising with - Mother as the Coach.

Remembering when the Children were Little - A Mailbox in the House.

When Things get Very Busy - Cooking while Holding a Bible.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Tempted to Spend Money for Father's Day

Pushcart Market, 1939

With Father's day coming up,  most of us think about shopping. This has seriously tempted me to spend, or I should say . . .  waste. . . money.

Why is it so easy to go into any mall, or department store, and buy a present? Yet, at the same time, it siphons hard earned cash out of the home's funds. 

When I was growing up, we children bought our father his favorite snack foods.  One of us was elected to head to the corner store, and buy "Dad's Root Beer" and "Circus Peanuts."  Every single year, we gave him those items as a rare treat.   We would never have imagined going into a big store and buying him an expensive gift.  Father's day wasn't like Christmas. We didn't think that way. It was a special day to honor our Dad. It was not about money or gifts.  We used that day to be extra nice to Dad. (smiles)  We might watch his favorite program with him. But mostly we were well-behaved and let him rest. We would try to treat him like the King of the house.    We children didn't have much  money, and we never thought money could be used to honor Him. Money didn't bring honor.  It was our thoughtfulness, and kind words, and affection that honored Dad.

This year, we have a new tradition.  I am planning to make a homemade lemon meringue pie for my Dad.  This is a rare Treat!  It is Dad's favorite kind of pie.    We will also spend part of the afternoon watching a western with him on television.   This was something we children grew up doing. When Dad rested on a Saturday afternoon, we would sit and watch a western with him, just to be together.  This year we will eat lemon meringue pie, like it was a thanksgiving afternoon, and watch Shane.

Being together, and being thoughtful, on Father's Day is far more important than what money could ever buy.

Mrs. White

A Culture that Forgot the Importance of - Mother's Labors.

What My Aunt Taught Me - Manners Learned at the Finishing School.

Lessons from the Old Days - Building our Homes with Little Money.

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Cleaning House

Book - Cleaning House: A Mom's Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement

Author - Kay Wills Wyma

Publisher - Waterbrook Press

Paperback, 278 pages

I was so excited to hear about this book.   Many families, in today's culture, are catering to their kids in a way that is harmful to their work ethic.  This generation is fast becoming the worst "me" generation ever created. Kay has found that a large part of this is caused by we mothers who serve and care for our children, too much; while expecting less and less from them.  Children need to work around the house, learn responsibility, and stop being waited on.  She explains that mothers tend to interfere with a child's need to learn from their own mistakes. Her insights are brilliant and make the reader want to cheer!

I love how Kay struggles with procrastination and inconsistencies.  Yet, she forced herself to do this experiment with her children. This will encourage many readers who have trouble staying on top of things.   The fact is, any effort towards teaching children a healthy work ethic, is better than no effort at all.

In this book, Kay describes the events which led to this radical experiment.  There are 12 chapters which cover 12 specific tasks she expected from her children.  Her sense of humor, mingled with her resolve to get the job done makes this a wonderfully enjoyable read.

Some of the tasks she expected from her children include things like:  Cooking, cleaning bathrooms, laundry, maintenance, hospitality and much more. She tells us how it all went down in her house, and gives us hope for our own homes at the same time.

Kay is the mother of five children, ages 4 to 14.  She is a college graduate, and formerly worked with The White House. She lives in Texas with her husband and children.  Read more from Kay - She writes at The Moat Blog.

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

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

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Creating a Pious Home

Vermont's Colonial Times

Mother has such a great responsibility on her shoulders. She is the conductor, of the atmosphere, of home life. She can have a worldly home or a pious home.

It all starts with eliminating distractions. What pulls her away from her job at home? And, further, what is making her too tired to complete this mission?

May we first start with her endurance?

When rising, she should exercise.   It is important to exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes a day. But this exercise must be the kind that causes sweating.  This will take away the sluggishness and tiredness because it helps remove toxins from the body.

She should not be dependent on processed foods or highly refined, sugary foods. They may be okay for occasional use, but must not be the foundation of her diet.  These will distract her mind, almost keep her at the mercy of food - induced mood swings and extreme tiredness.  She should strive to eat whole, natural foods.  These need not cost much. Even oatmeal, apples and brown rice are perfectly sufficient as an example of simple, nutritious foods.

May we move on to creating a pious atmosphere?

Of course she must keep up with her daily household chores. Our labor helps create a strong and noble character.  This is admirable and inspiring, even if no one seems to notice, or appreciate, what we do in the home.

She should discipline herself to limit, or, at times, avoid television, movies, too much computer and the like.   These should be for moments of recreation, but only when the housework and Bible time have been accomplished.

Is her Bible in a visible place? Is it easy to find for daily worship?  We are told that morning and evening devotions are excellent for the soul.   These are to be public (with the family). Then there ought to be a time of private study as well, either at midday, early morning, or late in the evening.

Keep hymn books, Bibles, Religious literature, and CDs of Sermons and good music available for family use.  Perhaps Mother can create a little corner, or section in the home, where these precious things can be kept? 

The most important thing Mother can do, is to daily work on creating and cultivating a Pious Home, but for herself.   Her job is not to force these things on the family, but to act out the love of Piety and slowly let go of the worldly, before her household. It is a daily war.  Her husband and children will see this in her. They will appreciate all the work she does.   If she strives to do this herself, the family will slowly follow and be encouraged by it.

A Pious Home comes from walking a disciplined, difficult path.  This must be a peaceful place. The peace comes from constant forgiveness and mercy to the frail souls of the family.  The Pious Home is not one of perfection.  It is not one without heartache.  But the piety is what draws each to the comfort of the Holy One, who will constantly renew them and sanctify them, drawing them closer and closer to their Eternal Rest.

Mrs. White

What Goes On When they Sleep - Waking Up to a Cozy Kitchen.

Our Very Old House - Cleaning the Museum.

Keeping it Special - Classy Homemaking.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Struggling with Today's Adventures

Secret Garden

One of the most important things I need to do today, is get in the right frame of mind.  I am distracted and unmotivated.

First, I will turn on Crooners, so that a cheerful atmosphere is created.  Then I will make sure all the shades are open, and enjoy the bright sunshine. 

I will set the table for a simple, but elegant lunch.  I will use my best dinner plate, a napkin and nice silverware. 

There is a difficult errand I must do this afternoon, but I have to be peaceful and find some way to make it a fun adventure.

When I get home, I will walk the grounds, slowly and peacefully, and look at my garden.  I will enjoy the tranquility of fresh air, the sounds of nature, and the pleasantness of just being home.

I will work at a slow pace in the late afternoon and start a nice dinner. When the sun begins to set, and the streetlights go on, it will be time to wind down the day. I will read quietly and settle the children. 

When night falls, home will be a quiet place, and all the dreaded adventures of the day will be over.

Mrs. White

When a Change is Needed - School at Home without a Lesson Plan.

My Family - The Blessing of Being a Half- Southern Mama.

This will Shame me out of my laziness today - Only Rich People Have Clean Houses.

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Mother's Rest

Boys, Parents and Grandmother in Living Room

Small children must have naps, and a bedtime.  They need a routine that helps protect their health, nerves, and well-being.  We take excellent care of our little ones, but spoil ourselves with too much indulgence.  In this modern world, we Mothers are sleeping less than ever. We are so occupied with a great many distractions.  This is taking away our ability to have sufficient rest.

When I was a child, we had never heard of VCRs or DVD players.  If we watched the one television set that was in our home (other than the small, portable for when someone was ill), we turned it off at a certain hour.  Our parents went to bed at the same time each night.  We children had our own bedtimes as well.

In Grandmother's day, the electricity was only used minimally. No one would dream of using the lights, or other items, late into the night unless there was some kind of emergency.  The radio (if the family had one) was shut off at a certain time.  Families would read together, visit, Knit, play the piano, or play games.   It used to be that when the streetlights came on, it was time to wind down the day. Families had dinner, clean up, and a short break in the living room. Bedtime soon followed.

Lately, I have been so guilty of not getting enough rest.  I am staying up far too late because there is so much to occupy my time and thoughts.  This is making me less productive!  This is taking away some peaceful joy.   Sufficient sleep is a necessity, and we mothers must have a routine, just like the children.

Mrs. White

From the Archives:

A Living History - Homemaking Links the Generations.

Make it Look Like - The Maid Was Here.

Morning Preparations of the Heart - Getting Ready to Face the Family.

Order My Books:

For Home-keeping Inspiration, - For The Love of Christian Homemaking

A 90 Day Bible Study, inspired by John Wesley, -  "Early Morning Revival Challenge

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Gooseberry Patch Cookbook - Giveaway

Book - Fresh from the Farmstand - Cookbook

Publisher - Gooseberry Patch

Pages - 220, Comb bound

Ever spend time browsing at your local farmer's market? There are all kinds of garden-fresh fruits and vegetables.  Sometimes it can be overwhelming and you might wonder what you can make with such a variety of produce.

Fresh from the Farmstand will give you plenty of ideas for using those fresh garden items!  Inside you'll find 6 sections of recipes. Here is a small sampling:

 - Freshly Gathered Breakfasts

     Peach Oatmeal Pancakes, and Whole-Grain Berry Coffee Cake look delightful!

- Market - Basket Soups and Breads

     Country Chicken and Corn Soup, and Garden Minestrone are hearty comfort foods.

- Garden - Fresh Sides and Salads

     Dilled New Potato Salad, and Sweet Dill Refrigerator Pickles look fun to try.

- Farmstand Feasts

     Hearty Vegetable Pot Pie, and Pasta Primavera Even Kids Like - are a great way to include fresh produce in the family's diet.

- Summer's Best Appetizers

      Lemon Iced Tea, and Island Chiller are cool and sweet drink ideas.

- Berry Best Desserts

     Royal Strawberry Shortcake, and Refreshing Raspberry Cake sound like wonderful afternoon treats.

Each recipe in this collection is sent in by a Gooseberry Patch reader. This creates a fun variety of great cooking ideas.  The book is packed with little quotes, ideas and pretty drawings to encourage the home cook.

One of my favorite recipes in this book is on page 204. It is for "Never-Fail Pie Crust" and makes 12 single crusts!  It looks easy to follow and is carefully explained.  I can just imagine making homemade chicken pot pies, apple pies and lemon meringue pies with this recipe.

The Giveaway:

How would you like to a chance to win your own copy of Fresh from the Farmstand Cookbook?  I have one available to giveaway.

To enter, all you have to do is leave me a comment, telling me your favorite summer - time food.

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.)

5. Choose to "Like" The Legacy of Home on Facebook.

6. Subscribe in an email to The Legacy of Home Blog.

8. Choose to "Like" Gooseberry Patch on Facebook.

9. Follow Gooseberry Patch on Twitter.

*Please leave a separate comment for each entry.*

This contest is closed. The winner is A Godly Homemaker

One random winner we be selected on Monday, June 11, 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. 

*Disclosure - This giveaway is sponsored by Gooseberry Patch. Items were provided by them.*

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

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Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Respite Before Church

Country Church, Iceland, Polar Regions

A loud sermon played on the CD radio in my kitchen. I washed the dishes, swept the floor and polished the stove.  I listened to spiritually quickening nourishment, while I tidied the parlour. Then I heard the church bells ring. I knew it would be time to leave soon.

There is a short time between daily tasks and religious duties that are like a "respite" for the soul.  It is when we prepare for the unseen joy of seeking holiness.

Yet, if we left the house a mess, or did not prepare in advance to take care of our earthly work, oh how restless and distracted we would be during the church time!

We can slowly walk away from our work, knowing it was well done.   We take a worldly break and head to the sacred time of heavenly things.    Is this a foreshadowing of things to come?

Some preparation time is necessary. If we are having a quiet Bible time at home, we gather our Bible and books and papers. We settle ourselves in our usual place before we begin. This is part of the respite. This is all part of the expectation and the eagerness, during the break between earthly and heavenly matters.

If we are to attend church and must travel, the time we get ready, or walk or drive is the respite.   It is a time of contemplation, and a readiness, to rid of us worldly thoughts, so we can focus on better things.

I wonder if those few moments before mortal death, the saints feel a blissful peace as they enter their long-awaited home in the heavenly realm?

Mrs. White

The Wasting of Money - Electricity as an Entertainment Expense.

Every Home Should Have - A Housewife on Duty.

Through the Good and the Bad - As Sorrowful Yet Always Rejoicing at Home.

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