"After Laura and Mary had washed and wiped the dishes, swept the floor, made their bed, and dusted, they settled down with their books. But the house was so cozy and pretty that Laura kept looking up at it."
- Laura Ingalls Wilder
Human Frailty of the Godly Soul
"The life of Luther might suffice to give a thousand instances, and he was by no means of the weaker sort. His great spirit was often in the seventh heaven of exultation, and as frequently on the borders of despair. His very deathbed was not free from tempests, and he sobbed himself into his last sleep like a greatly wearied child."
"As for her, like most women, she had but one ambition. To be a good wife and a good mother, and to be beloved by her husband and children, was all she asked. [She was] a busy, affectionate, cheerful little housewife, whose voice would never be heard in the streets, but whose memory would always live in a few faithful hearts."
Must the cookie jar always be full? Do Mothers have to keep a steady supply of cake, brownies and other treats in the kitchen? Must she provide her family with gourmet dinners each night, or special meals that taste delightful?
Or is it okay to have a thrifty kitchen? This kind of kitchen produces things like oatmeal in the morning, or whole grain apple muffins. Lunches might be sandwiches or leftovers. Supper might be the main meal of the day, served around 5 or 6 in the evening. This could be pasta, meatloaf, or one of our frugal favorites, southern cornbread, home fried potatoes and baked beans.
It is not required that Mother buy soda, candy or chips. It is completely unnecessary for her to serve dessert every single day. It is also extremely expensive.
Simple, homemade foods from the kitchen help keep household expenses low.
It has been said that we must not be fashionably dressed above our means. It is also true that we must not grocery shop and cook beyond what we can afford.
One of the biggest leaks in the family budget is an abundance of food.
Here are some ideas for keeping costs down:
1. Have meals at specific times, whenever possible. This way everyone knows what to expect. It also helps Mother plan her day. (For example - Breakfast at 8 a.m. Lunch at noon. Dinner at 5 p.m.)
2. Have basic foods in the pantry - like potatoes, vegetables, fruit, flour, sugar, cornmeal, and meat. This way you can quickly come up with something to make, without worrying about rushing off to the store.
3. I know many people write up weekly menus and meal plans, but it is not always necessary if you have basic ingredients available. You should also have some basic family recipes handy that are easy, quick and frugal.
4. Make special foods, like cookies, once a week. This is something the family will look forward to and appreciate. It could be a Friday night treat. Or, plan on making a cake or nice dessert for Sunday afternoons. The less often treats are offered, the less likely money will be wasted.
5. Offer children basic beverages like juice, tea, water or milk. If the older ones want soda, or some name brand drink, have them use their own money. (Mother is not obligated to provide the children with commercially prepared, designer beverages.) This goes the same for candy bars and other processed snacks.
6. Serve whole grains and fresh foods. This is nutritious and helps keep everyone feeling full.
7. In restaurants, patrons are served ice water before their meal. This helps fill them up. Try this at home! Why? Because in this current day, people tend to eat much larger portions than they really need. If they have some water first, they will eat a more appropriate amount of food.
8. Some nutritious snacks include: crackers with peanut butter; celery with cream cheese; sliced apples; carrot sticks; or wheat crackers with cheese. (Not donuts, danishes, or cupcakes.)
I realize it takes atremendous amount of work to have a thrifty kitchen. It is much easier to buy convenience foods. However, there is more at stake than just saving time or money. We need to save our health.
I am the mother of five home-schooled children, ages 15 and up, and a Grandmother of 2. I have been married for almost a quarter of a century.
I am a writer, reviewer, who loves fashion, sewing,
reading, fitness and cleaning.
We live in an 1800's house in rural Vermont.