Monday, October 23, 2017

Taking Care of the Home

Library of Congress: A Family Home in 1900.

We had a couple of large trees removed from the property this month. They were dangerously close to our house and became a hazard.   This has left quite a bit of work for us to do. There is much firewood to cut and stack.  The boys use a wheelbarrow to haul stacks of it to the garage, where pieces are then cut to a suitable size for the wood stove.   Since the trees are gone, there is a clear view of a side of our house that I have never really seen.  It is in desperate need of paint, and makes our home look even more shabby than before.

To take care of the grounds, to maintain the house, and to keep things clean and orderly indoors is a tremendous amount of work. But work is good for us and helps keep us healthy.

Indoors, I have been cleaning and organizing my dressing room.  Old files and papers are being discarded.  Bags are being filled up with books I no longer need.  Bookcases are being straightened and made neat again.  It is starting to look better, but will always be a regular task to keep the house in order.

While I was working the other day, the grandchildren came to visit me.  I had stacks of things all over the floor.  I was delighted to have them help me.  Then it was time for a rest.  I had several tea breaks with different members of the family throughout the day.

In the midst of the maintenance work, there are still the daily duties of laundry, cooking, baking, and cleaning the kitchen.  Pacing myself will always be a challenge.  I tend to do far more than I should without taking enough breaks.  This is something I am trying to improve.

Years ago, I remember my mother-in-law visiting us from Massachusetts. She was an excellent housewife and homemaker, and an incredible example to me.  She saw our old house and the many rooms and wondered how I would ever keep up with the work. I wonder that too sometimes!

The weather has been unusually warm.  I walked the property with Mister in the late afternoon yesterday.  We sat on the bench, back by the river, beside my strawberry garden.  It is nice to take breaks.

I have plenty of work today to keep me busy and happy.  We will also have company at different times of the day, which will be wonderful.


From the Archives -

A Happy Marriage - Serving Mister.

The Joy of Grandchildren - I Hear Angels Crying.

Our Neglected Home - The Shabby Garden.

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. 


Sunday, October 22, 2017

Review - When Calls The Heart on DVD

When Calls the Heart - The Heart of Faith - Movie 1, season 4

I have been watching several episodes of "When Calls the Heart" on DVD.  This is a series shown on the Hallmark channel, which is also available for purchase on DVD.  I have been enjoying the program very much.

The series begins with a young woman, Elizabeth, who travels to Hope Valley to become the town's school teacher. She comes from a very wealthy, upstanding family.  The new life she begins takes quite a bit of getting used to, but she does it with dignity, poise, and grace.

The program is like watching a lovely civilized western, where the buildings are beautifully decorated and the majority of the residents have upstanding characters.  It is refreshing to watch.

The clothing is beautifully made and will inspire, I am sure, some designers to make similar wardrobes for those of us today who would love to dress in such a charming way.

Each "Movie" on DVD, from each season, has a specific plot that we get to enjoy.  It is resolved by the end of each episode so you are not left wondering what will happen next.  At the same time, we look forward to the next program so we can follow the lives of the people we get to know and love. 

I love that there is a church and a pastor in this town.  I love the cafĂ©, which is a classy establishment run by a gracious hostess.  The school teacher is cheerful and pleasant and is wonderful with the children.  Most of the men in town have strong moral characters. They work hard, are committed to their duties in life, and are protective and caring of those in the community.

At times, in some of the episodes, there are moments when a female character is eager to take on work that is commonly done by men in the town. For instance, a gentleman will offer to help chop wood, but the lady wants to do it herself.  The lady does it cheerfully and with a smile.  The men take it graciously.  However, I would love to see one of the ladies accept this help.  It would be good to encourage such gallant behavior in men, and thankfully accept their kindness when possible.  

I love that they talk of faith in God and pray in each episode.  It is refreshing to see such a program which is produced by Michael Landon, Jr.   The program is inspired by the novel, "When Calls the Heart" by Janette Oke.

The scenery is, at times, breathtaking.  The town is beautiful to watch, and the writing is well done.  At times, viewers will cry, smile, sit on the edge of their seat in suspense, and be inspired.

A Bonus:

Movie 1, from season 4, is a Christmas special. The title is "When Calls the Heart - The Heart of Faith."  Included in this DVD is a Bible study. It can be accessed by putting the DVD into your computer and getting the files.  These can be printed for personal use, or shared with others in a group study.  It is approximately 30 pages long.  The study has 15 short sections for discussion based on clips from the movie.  There are Bible verses, questions, and room for notes and personal reflection.  This is very well done!

*Disclosure - I received this for review purposes.*

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Tea Time - The Importance of Formal Ceremony at Home

Tea table at Mrs. White's Vermont Home

I usually have tea in a regular coffee cup. It is almost always plain "Salada" tea. I do not take cream or milk. I only add a small amount of table sugar.  In my healthier days, I would drink peppermint tea with honey (never sugar).  Recently, for special occasions, I have been using dainty china cups.

I will not have "tea time" unless some of my grandchildren are present.  I do this to entertain them, to teach them manners, and to help them develop a sort of refined culture in daily life.

I will say to Miss Grandgirl (currently age 3), that I would like to have tea. This is usually after we have done some chores together and have colored with crayons.  She immediately says, in a rather dignified way, "okay." And immediately walks over to the hutch to get my tea cup and saucer.  She places it on the table for me, and we begin the process of preparing a "formal" tea.

I have to say that I was very hesitant to let her handle my fragile dishes. But after a few lessons at the sink washing some of them, she has proven to me that she cares very much and will try very hard to be cautious.  I also have to say that I am willing to give up any of my china and dishes with a sympathizing smile should there be an accident.  In other words, if Miss Grandgirl drops and breaks my cup or plates, I will gladly take the loss.  After all, at the end of life, we cannot take things with us.

At the table, there is a sugar bowl.  Just for fun, I have this filled with sugar cubes.  This is the "company best" sugar that adds to the fun of tea time.  I will say to one of the grandchildren, "I would like one sugar please."  They take turns getting me a cube and placing it into a tea cup.  This delights them!

We always use linen napkins. Some are homemade, some are store bought, and others have been given to us.  These are neatly folded and kept on the hutch or sideboard table.  The children will get one for each of us.  "These go on our laps," I tell them.  We also have extra napkins on the table beside our plates.

I keep a "creamer" container on the table which is always empty. It is there for looks, since none of us take cream or milk in our tea.  Perhaps in winter I will fill it with miniature marshmallows and turn "tea time" into "hot chocolate time."

There is a silver call bell at my place setting.  This is what one would use to call the maid to the table or ask for help.  Since I am the only maid (gentle smiles), I ring the bell to make the children smile.  I might say, "Time for tea," just before a ring.  Or I might say, "lunch is served" and then give the bell a little shake.  The children find this endearing.

In my kitchen, there is a small canister full of flavored teas.  The children and I have enjoyed papaya, and apple cinnamon the most.  I give the children only a taste with a teaspoon, and then I drink the rest.  They love the scent, the fancy cups, the sugar cubes, and watching the steam.  Then they are happy to enjoy juice and a treat in their own seats at the table.

We sit up straight, we talk politely, and we say our prayers with folded hands.  We ask each other, "Is there anything else you need?" or "Would you like some more?"   Here at the tea table, we learn to take care of each other. We learn to be kind and considerate.

Tea time is very short, but the lessons extend to meals.  The children always use linen napkins at grandmother's table.  We always use our very best manners, whether it is breakfast, lunch, or dinner time.  This does not mean that every one of us is perfect, or without fault.  There are still the gentle sounds of an argument among young ones.  There are still complaints about not wanting crust on one's sandwich, or the whining request for more juice. But the ideal is here.  The foundation is being taught by example each time we are at the table.  The children may have interruptions of trouble, but then we get back to our sweet and happy times of placing that linen napkin on our lap with a sweet smile, and then saying, "should we say our prayers now?"  This makes the children very happy.  We do the good things in the middle of the distractions.

If a home had more formal times of ceremony in daily life, there would be more respect and kindness. Manners have always been known to be a virtue and the foundation of a civilized society.  This is why, even though there are mostly little ones at my table, we find joy in a formal approach to tea.

My home is humble and old. My dining table was obtained from a neighbor's front yard with a "free" sign on it, almost 20 years ago. It seats 8.  A white tablecloth I use for "best" is more than 2 decades old.  My chairs do not match. My dishes are an assortment of mostly gifts and hand-me-downs. Yet, it is so very precious and beautiful to have formal manners and tea time in our very poor family. 

It will never be about the money we have, or the quality of the possessions we own.  It is about kindness, and morality.  It is about virtue, patience, longsuffering, and bringing beauty into our lives by our sweet behavior.


From the Archives -

Honoring Husbands - Cooking for Mister.

For The Hard Days - Make the Mess Look Pretty.

The Virtuous Mother - Amazing Dedication.

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. 


Review - First Catechism

 The following is a homeschool review of "First Catechism," obtained by Christian Liberty Press:

Booklet:  "First Catechism: Teaching Children Bible Truths"
Publisher: Great Commission Publications.
Paperback, 38 pages.

This is an adorable little book that children will enjoy. The few illustrations are perfect for this age group (kindergarten and up).

The book contains 150 brief questions and answers that are simple to follow.  The format is derived from the 1840 "Catechism for the Young" by Joseph P. Engels.  It has been simplified for young children and made very clear and easy to follow.

Here are a few samples of the questions and answers:

Question 1:  "Who made you?"
Answer:  "God."

Question 76:  "How many commandments did God give on Mount Sinai?"
Answer:  "Ten commandments."

Question 102: "What does the eighth commandment teach you?"
Answer: "Not to take anything that belongs to someone else."

This book can be used in whatever way you, as the parent, feel is best for your family. You might find some of the questions and answers harder for smaller children to understand.  Or the questions might bring confusion to children of today, which would require a great deal of discussion.

Personally, I would pick and choose the questions that I think my students would benefit from most, and use Bible reading, family worship, and church lessons to teach the rest.

Overall though, it is a very cute book that could be a great resource in your home teaching.  You could also use it to quiz older children who would very much enjoy getting the answers correct.

You can find this book at the Christian Liberty Press site:

First Catechism

  This post is the seventh in a series of reviews I am doing using Christian Liberty Press curriculum.  I hope to do 2 reviews each month as I work with my grandson for Kindergarten. To start with the first post, please see the introduction:

"24 Years of Homeschooling with Christian Liberty Press"

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

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Restaurant at Home

Cake at Mrs. White's Vermont Estate

I have a set of pretty dishes that came from a Museum.*  I have been saving them for just the right time to use here at our Estate.  They are so pretty and elegant.  I made room for them in the cabinet yesterday.  We just started using them.  I have to tell you that our home is very humble.  It is an old 1850's house that is in need of repairs and general maintenance.  I like to bring pretty things here, humble - old fashioned items, that bring class and elegance for very little cost. This brightens up our shabby surroundings.

* My dishes came from a community yard sale hosted by our town's museum a few years ago.  The entire box cost me $3.00. *

Setting these up in my kitchen inspired me to get back to the old time tasks of making good food for the family.

This morning, I grated mozzarella cheese and made a batch of whole wheat pizza dough, seasoned with oregano, garlic powder, and olive oil.  While I worked, there were grown children and grandchildren all around. We talked a little, but when it came time to knead the dough, I sent them into the parlour. I do my serious work when everyone is safely out of the way.  The little ones pulled up miniature rocking chairs and put them on the carpet nearby so they could watch.

I set up a fresh tablecloth on the dining table.  I put cloth napkins by each place.  The children noticed this was not the time for play dough or games. We were to have a lovely luncheon.  Soon the first batch of two pizzas were ready and the children enjoyed a nice lunch.

I was ready to take a break when one of my sons called to say he was on his way over to pick something up.  "Have you had your lunch?" I asked him.  He had not.  I told him I would make him a pizza. He was delighted.  This son is a chef in a beautiful Vermont Inn and restaurant. He greatly appreciates food made from scratch, with care and love. 

By the time he arrived, I was ready to put his pizza in the oven. It was covered with fresh organic spinach and cheese.  I started to clean up the mess so my kitchen and parlour were kept neat. This makes me happy. I love to see things looking pretty.  I delight in the work.

In the background, one could hear a gentle sound of an orchestra playing hymns from my kitchen radio.

Someone called for me to go out on an errand.  I was a passenger in the car and enjoyed talking about what I wanted to bake when I got home. 

Once I was back in my kitchen I prepared a white cake with chocolate frosting.  Then I put fresh sliced strawberries on a plate, along with a couple of small scoops of mint chocolate chip ice cream. To this was added a delicate slice of the cake. (See photo above.) A piece was served on one of my pretty new plates.

After all was clean and neat, I noticed the bananas and thought it would be nice to make banana pancakes in the morning. I looked in the refrigerator and thought of what I would make for the next day's lunch. 

In this area where we live, there are very few restaurants.  I have been to the Inn where my son works and it is upscale and beautiful.  Yet, there is nothing to compare to the humble, old fashioned home where I can bake and cook in my very own restaurant at home.


From the Archives -

A Happy Wife - Serving Mister.

I Will Always Try to Be - The Mother Who Isn't Busy.

You Can Do It! - Housekeeping - With A Will.

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. 


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