Monday, March 31, 2014

Gracious Homemaking

Leaving for School

In the quiet of the morning, I am busy with home duties. I tidy the parlour, and start the tea.  I make Grandbaby's playpen look inviting.  His blanket is neatly folded over the side.  I take a little box and fill it with small toys. This is placed in the corner of the pen, along with a few carefully displayed books.  When he is brought upstairs by his Mother, he is excited to go in there while we prepare the morning meal.

I visit with the great-grandparents (who live with us) for a few minutes to see how they are doing.  I hear the plans for the day and then get back to my own home duties.

My teenage son sits at the table with me, over tea, and we study.  I have a stack of large books and have taught him how to use them.  We have The Strong's Concordance,  The 1828 Webster's Dictionary, Matthew Henry's Commentary, along with our Bibles.  We study in the parlour and then he goes off to do his own studies.

Soon I am busy with Grandbaby and his Mother.  We cook and clean and smile and laugh.  We talk as we work and we watch all the wonderful antics of baby.  Another little cherub will be here very soon and we are excited! 

I take a little rest in the parlour chair and try to read.  I have an afghan and sit near the fire.   It is not long before someone calls me away to another part of the house. I am needed for this or that. But I am ready.  My book reading is put down at any moment, because I am on-call for the needs of this house. 

Afternoon arrives and grandbaby needs his nap.  Portions of this house suddenly become quiet as we get the little one settled to sleep. 

The dinner hour is here and we start cooking.  There are dishes to do, and laundry to check on.  Often someone comes in - whether it is one of my grown children, or Mister, and wants to talk and have a little parlour visit. We take a break from our work to sit for a while.

It is getting late.  Grandbaby needs his bath and his bedtime.  I visit the great-grandparents again and make sure they are settled for the evening.  Then I do the evening chores while listening to old time gospel music on my kitchen radio.

We have evening prayers and a little Bible reading.

When most of the family has gone off to bed, I am back in the kitchen, doing those last minute chores which bring joy to the family - making it all look neat and pleasant.

This is gracious homemaking. It is cheerful work in the home and a kindness in caring for the family.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Please don't be one of these! - Bossy Wives.

The Way it Should Be - The Mother Who Isn't Busy.

Marriage - When Groceries are the Presents.

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Monday, March 24, 2014

Housekeeping - With a Will

1940s Blonde Housewife Wearing Apron Cleaning Polishing Wooden End Table in Ornate Living Room

Duty is very difficult in a self - indulgent world.   We wives often want to live in leisure, enjoy hobbies, and relax.  Today, the American Dream is considered to be all about retirement!  Yet, working in the home makes our surroundings pleasant, peaceful, and orderly.  I recently heard the advice from a doctor (from a 1940's movie) suggesting to his nurse that an upper class housewife should let some of her servants go, do 6 hours of housework a day, and then her health would be recovered in 3 months! 

"Duty with a will" means we have the right attitude of perseverance.  We do the daily chores despite our mood or emotions.  Often the task seems overwhelming and we have trouble even getting started.  Perhaps we have neglected the deep-down cleaning for weeks or months.  This becomes a mountain of impossibility!  But with a will, we can take each step and work little-by-little to make things nice.  Years ago, I read this old book about this young man who had to work in the fields.  I can't remember all the details but I remember him saying to himself over and over again, "With a will, Joe!"  And this became the motto of his life.  He did his duties and he did them well.

One of the sweetest things I've found to help get that "will" strong, is to dress for the day in a housewife's uniform.  This is a special outfit that says, "I am the hostess of this house and am happy to serve and make sure you are comfortable."    For some this may be a little jewelry, a special hairstyle, a pretty dress and . . . of course. . . a pretty apron.   This says that home is lovely and I am happy to work here.

Many mornings I have been giving myself little "pep talks" so I can drag myself out of bed. (gentle smiles)  Life can get overwhelming and exhausting and we have to learn to do our very best, despite these challenges. 

On a daily basis, grandbaby keeps me busy; my (mostly grown) children keep things exciting around here; and the care of my parents (the great-grandparents who live with us) have health issues which are a constant concern.    I also am dealing with a gnawing disappointment I feel because I have not been able to knit an old fashioned sweater- and- bonnet set for my new grandbaby, who will arrive next month.  Regardless of this,  I still have a home to keep, a husband to care for, and plenty of work to do; I will not despair.  I will do it, to the best of my ability, with a smile and with a will.

Mrs. White

P. S.  Thank you to those sweet readers who have sent me gifts and cards in the last couple of months. I cannot tell you how very precious those surprises have been to me and my family. God bless you!

From the Archives -

I am looking forward to doing this in the Spring - Walking the gardens with Baby.

It's all up to you, Mother - The Cultured Society of Home.

We need more of this! - Homemaking Propaganda.

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Monday, March 17, 2014

Living on Mister's Income

US Service Wives in Berlin with Housekeeper and Children

One of the greatest challenges of the Christian wife, is to live on her husband's income. We are constantly tempted and encouraged to earn some supplementary money.   We are also bombarded with ideas for spending our money in ways that will "save" us money.  It is almost comical to think that spending money equals savings on any level!

Regardless of one's financial situation, one can spend every single dime that comes in; or, one can spend less than one makes.    It sounds simple in theory but is actually very difficult.  It is a fight, which goes on in the mind.

We have to fight against the idea that we need more.  We have to fight the temptation to buy things on impulse.  A responsible, elderly adult, is not in the habit of buying on childish whims.  This is a lesson we must learn.

The handling of money takes careful planning and thought.   For the housewife, it should also take a feeling of contentment and an understaning of the priviledge of having the luxury to stay home in this modern world.

I have noticed recent television programs and hallmark movies.  They always include a career woman, or some feminist actions on the part of the female characters.  When I watch old episodes of "I Love Lucy;" "Father Knows Best:"  "The Donna Reed Show;" "The Waltons;' or "The Brady Bunch" I am shocked by the shift in cultural thinking.  A Study in social living is happening by simply watching the old programs and the new ones!  Our way of life today is affected by the messages we are being fed through the media.  We must keep our guard up to prevent a subtle change in our own homes. 

Lately, I have been struggling to live on my husband's income.  This is normal and happens in many homes.  This morning it is fourteen degrees below zero, here in Vermont.  There is a ton of snow, which shows no sign of melting.  Mister took $20 of our grocery money to buy us 4 bags of wood pellets for our stove.   This will last us until his next paycheck.  But it leaves me with the struggle of coming up with nutritious and filling suppers for the next few days.  I will get out some of my old cookbooks and think of creative ways to make do.

I have been dreaming about getting the garden ready on the back property. I am thinking about my strawberry plants and all the lovely foods I would like to grow.  I look forward to the sweet warm sunshine of summer days, and hanging clothes on the line.  I want to see the grandchildren enjoying the property and laughing outdoors.  I am able to do these things because each day, I learn to live on Mister's income.  It is not easy.  It is my work, to live within the means he provides us with.  It is my challenge and my victory. 

I cannot express how very grateful I am to be a Christian housewife and be humbly taken care of by my husband.  Despite this world that seeks riches and fame, I am grateful for the old paths my godly grandmothers tread before me, where Bible reading, prayer and humble living is our way of life.

Mrs. White

From the Archives:

Our Heavenly Father Hears even these - Prayers Which Cannot Be Uttered.

Discretion and dedication - The Behind - the - Scenes Mother.

What would happen?  - If I visit you at the dinner Hour.

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


General Mills Retro Cereal

General Mills has released 5 different retro-style cereal boxes! Each is full of fascinating history and trivia.

Did you know Cheerios was the first prepared breakfast cereal?  It was introduced to American kitchens in 1945!

Lucky Charms was presented in 1964.

Honey Nut Cheerios was released in 1979.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch delighted the breakfast scene in 1984.

Reeses Peanut Butter Puffs brought some excitement to the table in 1994.

What are your memories of General Mills Cereal?

*Disclosure - Information and samples of this cereal were provided to me for review purposes from General Mills. *

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Going Out With Mister

Horse-drawn Carriage (Mill Bridge)

Every now and then, Mister takes me for a ride in our new car. It is a previously owned Cadillac with white leather seats.  He bought it last month.  It is the first time I have had a car since I lost mine last summer.  This one has a CD player and power windows.  Messages display on the dashboard, suggesting I turn on the headlights.  It even mentions possible road conditions. It is a clever car.  The seats are so comfortable, and the car seems so elegant, that I only listen to Classical music while I am driving. 

Even though I have driven it a few times myself, it is much more pleasant when Mister does the driving. It is more peaceful and relaxing. 

On a cold, snowy evening, he will drive me to the gas station, or the store; Just to go for a ride.  I bring a blanket and settle myself in the passenger seat.  I am warm and comfortable.  Grandfather says it is like I am Miss Daisy.   The blanket reminds me of riding in a horse-drawn wagon on a cold winter day.  It is delightful.

These little trips are not errands. If they were, it would be more stressful.  Going out with Mister is like a quiet time of togetherness.   He might buy me a Pepsi, or a Hershey Bar at the gas station.  These gifts are his way of showing he cares. 

While the car may sound grand and expensive, it has some dents in the side and a few problems. That is what made it affordable for us. That is why we were able to buy it without going into debt.  Sometimes we make the joke that we live in a world of dented elegance. Our Estate is majestic, but in need of repairs. Our cars may be lovely, but they are also damaged.  We are happy with this because our life is affordable and classy.  It is a frugally dignified life.  We may go without for many months, but our patience and sacrifice reaps a reward.   It is the way we are, here at The White House.

I have to tell you how much more I appreciate staying home these past 8 months.  I was rarely able to go anywhere, without a ride from someone.  I am so grateful for this blessing of a new car, but my outlook has dramatically changed.  All the errands I used to do, all the events I used to drive the children to, are no longer considered "essential."  I found something far better and more valuable.  I found that the "dream" of really staying home was possible, even for those of we housewives who think we have to always go out.  To really stay home, and to be focused on home for most of our time, is absolutely wonderful. 

I am quieter. I am meeker. I am gentler.  I am more cherished and taken care of by those around me.  The humbleness of being "trapped" at home, has been a great gift and a lesson from the Lord.  I am truly grateful.

Mrs. White

From the Archives:

I have been ensconced at Home since Last June when I lost my car. - Rural Homemaking.

Please don't be one of these - Ex - Housewife.

I always want to be - The Mother Who Isn't Busy.

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email.