Monday, February 29, 2016

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wednesday's Wisdom

Signs vs. Nagging

Training family members is faster and easier when I use labels and signs; either to indicate location, or a reminder of a desired action.

When and where have you used labels and/or signs in your home?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday's Frugal Roundup

There's really nothing frugal about flying to San Diego in February, but I'm so grateful TopDad sends me to thaw out and have some time with my Dad, who turned 90 last month.

Queen Palms in the back yard, with the moon sailing in the background

PFCMom and her "Soul" car!
What do you do that was frugal this week?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wednesday's Wisdom

When Noble was about ten or eleven I asked her to pick up all the books that the two youngest boys had dragged off the shelf. She resisted saying that she hadn't made the mess. I explained that I hadn't either and I needed her help to quickly pick it up and straighten the room while I was making dinner. She put her hands on her hips and said, "When I'm the mother I'm not going to make my children work." I looked at her and asked, "So, as the mother, you're going to do all the work?" You should have seen the look on her face as she realized what she had said. As an adult she has thanked me over and over for teaching her how to clean a house.

I love this story from Anita Canfield's book A Woman for All Seasons:
When I was first married, I met a woman with several daughters. One day while I was visiting in their home one daughter appeared at the door with a shirt for her mother to iron. A few minutes later another daughter came in and asked her mom to pick up her room. She was bringing friends over later and wanted it clean. Then a third daughter later came to make a similar request.
 I mentioned to this good lady that she certainly had her work all lined up for her and she replied to me, "I don't believe in making my children do any work at all. The day will come when all they'll do is work and take care of others. These years are theirs. This is their time for fun."
I thought at the time, What a great idea! This mother really has it together! We moved away shortly after that and I forgot all about the incident. Years later we lived in the same ward (church congregation) as one of those daughters. It wasn't long before I realized she had terrible housekeeping problems. One day she confided in me with a great many tears that she hated living in a pigsty--and was embarrassed--but she didn't know how to clean a house.
In this mother's enthusiasm to give her children immediate pleasure, she failed to prepare them for a fuller joy.
Children are young for such a short time, and adults for such a long time. Shouldn't we use those precious years to teach and train them to be competent, successful adults? They will thank us forever for doing so.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tuesday's Treasures

Confession: I have an obsession. Yes, I admit it. Every time I go to a thrift store I check the linens to see what treasures have been turned in, abandoned by the unappreciative. I find the prettiest things!

26" square either napkin or towel

Lily of the Valley motif on each corner

Linen kitchen towel with liquid embroidery
In all of my study of domestic history, Monday is consistently washday. One historian believes that is so that the best linens, used on Sunday would be washed before any stains could set. Makes sense to me.

This gorgeous peacock is embroidered on a piece of polyester linen-like fabric.
I'd like to make a sofa pillow out of it. (17"x 13")

Peacock tail feather detail

Lovely natural linen hand towel

Detail of daisys in dark and light orange with grey stem and leaves
Bleached linen hand towel
Detail of pulled thread embroidery and yellow and grey flowers

Linen is soft and absorbent; it feels so nice against skin whether it's a towel or handkerchief or napkin. There is just nothing like it. I pay anywhere from 25 cents to $5 for the things I chose. Low end for small items like a hanky or napkin, up to large tablecloths at the high end. With new linen costing anywhere from $10 to $100 per yard, I think I pick up absolute bargains, especially with all the handwork included! Can you see why I'm obsessed?

Do you have an obsession? What do you collect? What can you just not resist? What attracts you at thrift (or antique) stores?

Monday, February 15, 2016

Monday's Motivation

If you haven't read any of Ralph Moody's autobiographical novels you are really missing out. He begins his story in "Father and I Were Ranchers", with the family moving to Colorado for his father's health. Ralph is about eight. The story ends in book eight, "A Horse of A Different Color" with him about 21, a successful entrepreneur heading east to marry his girl. In between are some of the best stories of life in America from 1908 to the early 20's you can find. I read all of them to our boys when they were young, and still use Ralph as an example of a hard-working, self-disciplined young man.

Besides loving Ralph, I really love his mother. Widowed young with five children and another on the way she worked tirelessly to keep her family together, impart strong values to them and give them a good start in life. No doubt she had flaws, but seen through the eyes of her son Ralph, she seems pretty angelic, and wise.

After moving back to the Boston area, she began a fine laundry service to earn a living. While dividing up the jobs with the other children, eleven year old Muriel began to cry, not having been given a job. Here is what happened:
Mother took Muriel in her arms, hugged her up close, and said, "There, there girlie, don't cry. You see, if things go as we hope they will, Gracie and I will be busy from morning till night, and you will be the housekeeper who makes a home for us all. You know, dear, there is no woman in the world who has a more important task than making a home for those she loves.
Wise words, Mary Emma!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sunday's Spiritual Thought

The world's greatest Valentine -
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.               John 3:16

Roses from my daughter Noble

Yesterday when we "juiced" we discovered this beautiful green heart! It's our funny Valentine.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Saturday's Sewing Report (with a little bonus)

My latest sewing creations:

Made from two napkins I had stashed away, and some scraps from a childhood dress of Noble's, plus a couple of vintage buttons.

One is for me and one is to sell or give away as part of a "kitchen set" for a wedding present.


This is the tomato soup I made--just tomatoes, onion, olive oil and basil--so yummy! And a couple of pieces of homemade bread toast and butter. Wonderful comfort food when I was feeling sick.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday's Frugal Round-Up

I was almost well, then suffered a relapse of this ridiculous virus--or whatever it is. I wish people would stay home from church when they are sick. I think my depressed immune system took a hit at church. Nevertheless, I managed to get a few frugal things done this week.

I made tomato soup from some tomatoes that had been sitting on my counter too long.
I mended Noble's work slacks for her (she really needs to learn to sew for herself!).
I used up the last of the bananas in a delicious smoothie.
I cooked dinner, fish tacos, even though I was sick and didn't feel like it.

We've had more snow, and more is forecast for this weekend with temps in the teens. I'm flying to San Diego on Tuesday to visit my father. The weather there is in the high 70's, low 80's. Real tough to take. (Thank you TopDad for sending me for my annual thaw!)

What frugal things did you do this week?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wednesday's Wisdom

From The Lessons of Engineering for Social Engineers by Chet Richards comes this gem:
The American Constitution was designed for a society whereby people manage their own affairs and solve their own problems. Beyond promoting trade among the states, protecting against foreign invasion, and ensuring the rights of property, the Federal Government really has no legitimate role in structuring society.  Society was intended to evolve social arrangements on its own within the protective framework of the Constitution.  Thus, this progressive idea that government has the right to impose social change is contrary both to the spirit and to the words of the Constitution.
Can I get an Amen here?

Monday, February 8, 2016

Monday's Motivation

Noble and I went to Omaha shopping on Friday. Of course we had to stop at her favorite store, Barnes and Noble, which I enjoy also, but have trouble resisting the siren call of new books.

Here's one I picked up:

You'd think that by age 58 I'd have conquered my weaknesses. You'd think. Sadly, I'm flawed.

I began reading when we got home and think, (believe, have faith, hope) that I can change, conquer my laziness and achieve my goals.

The author's definition is this, "Self-discipline is the ability to do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not."

Brian Tracy writes in a conversational way, very personable and engaging. He includes lots of personal anecdotes and examples. I've read another of his books about leadership. He is a good writer, as well as prolific!

Some more quotes from the book:
Success is not an accident. Sadly, failure is not an accident either. . . . What happens to you is simply a matter of law--the law of cause and effect.
Which reminded me of a scripture--"There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated. And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated. (Doctrine and Covenants 130:20-21)
Study the values you admire. You learn values by studying them closely. The Law of Concentration says that "whatever you dwell upon grows and increases in your life."
Sounds very similar to this verse--"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:" (Proverbs 23:7)

I am making notes in the margins of the scriptures I'm reminded of. It made me think of something I heard or read years ago about the Bible being the greatest motivation and success literature ever. Which make sense because the scriptures are God's guidebooks for us. It's nice though to have someone distill it into a single accessible volume.

So, I'm off to do what I know I should, when I should, even though I don't feel like it! LOL

What motivates you?

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Sunday's Spiritual Thought

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is not something ethereal, floating loosely in the air. Faith does not fall upon us by chance or stay with us by birthright. It is, as the scriptures say, "substance . . . , the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1) Faith emits a spiritual light, and that light is discernible. (Alma 32:35) Faith in Jesus Christ is a gift from heaven that comes as we choose to believe and as we seek it and hold on to it. Your faith is either growing stronger or becoming weaker. Faith is a principle of power, important not only in this life but also in our progression beyond the veil. By the grace of Christ, we will one day be saved through faith on His name. (Ephesians 2:8) The future of your faith is not by chance, but by choice.
Elder Neil L. Andersen, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, from an address given in General Conference October 2015; Ensign, November 2015, page 65.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday's Frugal Roundup

I’ve been keeping track of my frugal accomplishments, or the things I’ve done this week (actually the past two weeks) to spend less, not spend at all, or otherwise save money. In no particular order here goes.

Gave TopDad a haircut
Fixed a pair of reading glasses (the arm had fallen off and the hinge was tricky!)
Turned down the heat
Found three future birthday presents at the thrift store (can’t show or tell because the recipients read the blog)
Ground wheat, baked five loaves of bread and made a quadruple batch of cookies.
Froze six bananas that were overripe to use in smoothies
Ate out only once! (TopDad likes to eat out more than I do)
Used up all the leftovers, didn’t waste any food
On sunny days opened all the blinds and curtains to let the sun warm the house
Turned the laundry detergent bottle upside down to drain the last of it, then rinsed it out to get the very last of it for another load; did the same with the dishwashing soap (or detergent)

Some frugal things are so habitual for me that I don’t even think about them, such as measuring dish detergent instead of simply squirting it in the sink; or squeezing the toothpaste tube for a week past when I think it is all gone, then cutting it open and using the very last dregs; drinking tap water instead of bottled; using a silicone spatula to get all the food out of a pan, bowl or container; turning off lights when I leave a room.

I like to read what other people do because there is always some new trick to learn. 

What did you do to save money this week?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

What's in a name?

Do you call yourself a housewife or a homemaker?

As I was thinking about the title “housewife”, into my head came the question, is there an officewife? Or a barnwife? Maybe there’s a yardwife. I personally don’t like “housewife” and always refer to myself as a homemaker. That’s because I think of myself as the maker of a home.

 I’m the one who opens all the curtains and blinds in the morning, letting the wonderful sunshine spill in and warm our home; and the one who closes all the same at sunset to hold in the warmth and shut out the darkness. I’m the one who tidies up and puts a tablecloth on before setting the table for a meal. I’m the one who moves the furniture into the most pleasing and inviting arrangement; puts up artwork and family photos, makes sure that there are several afghans or throws on the couch and chair for wrapping up in when it feels chilly. I’m the one who sees to it that there are toiletries in the bathroom, supplies in the laundry room and clean sheets and towels available at all times. In other words, I make our home livable, welcoming, and lovely.

Rozy the Homemaker (ca. 2012)
I was a homemaker before I ever got married. The small one bedroom apartment I lived in was my refuge and haven. I made it as lovely and welcoming as I could. I have very happy memories of my three years there.

Not everyone is born with the same inclinations I have. Some women despise staying at home and thrive in a career in an office of some kind. Not me! I believe I’m in the right career and consider it as such. I enjoy taking care of a husband, home and family. We’ve bought several homes over the course of our marriage (you do that with a military husband, in fact I joke about having married under a wandering star!) and during the loan application process when asked if I work, I simply answer, “Yes, but I don’t earn any income.” Some people understand, others give me odd looks and require an explanation. I really dislike that question, “Do you work?” No, I lounge on the couch watching movies eating chocolates. Of course I work, all day, every day, all year long! (Well, not really, but you know what I mean.)

Living in Iowa we get LOTS of political survey calls; when they get to the question of employer or employment, I just say “I’m a homemaker.” They have to figure out how to categorize that because it’s not one of the choices.

I also like the biblical term, from Titus 2:5 “keepers at home” as it seems to be another way to say homemaker.

So, how do you describe yourself?

P.S. Of course I realize that there are many women who would choose to be a full-time homemaker, but circumstances prevent that choice. I honor women who both earn the living, and make the living worthwhile for themselves and their families. They do so much more than I do and my hat's off to them.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Winter on Wednesday

The forecast blizzard began early Monday morning and lasted until late Tuesday night. It seems unusual only because we've had unusually mild winters for a few years. This, though, is more normal.

Tuesday night view from our front door.

Dandylion did all the shoveling of the walks and driveways.

Wednesday morning views from our front porch.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Tuesday Treasures - Thrift Store Finds

In anticipation of today's blizzard I drove to the next larger town yesterday for a little shopping. We had run out of milk on Sunday and I wanted to be sure to have some. I also grabbed some borax for the laundry, and some dish washing (by hand) detergent. Near the grocery store is a wonderful thrift store that we almost always stop at when we're in that town. Here are the treasures I picked up yesterday!

First is a piece of 3 inch gingham in my favorite yellow, 45" wide, almost 4 yards, for just $3.00.

Next are two 100% cotton muslin flat sheets, one full size and one queen, $5 each. I love the feel of the old muslin and always look for these kind of sheets. Fitted sheets are much harder to find as they wear out faster. But I also use sheets for all kinds of sewing projects, so I can't have too many.

I found a large glass jar, which  I'll use for cookies or nuts or dried fruit on the counter ($2); a Revere ware sauce pan and lid, to replace ones from our RV trailer that we gave away to a needy family, ($3); a metal serving tray in a blue and white Ming style ($2), a favorite children's book ($.75). 

What treasures have you found at the thrift store lately?