Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Exercise Room

The Exercise Room in Mrs. White's Vermont home

A few years ago, when Mister White had his disabling accident, the doctor required him to walk for part of his physical therapy.  His blood pressure was high and he was having a great many trials because of his lack of ability to move around much.  But it was impossible for him to walk outdoors with our long winters full of ice and snow.  It was necessary for him to have a treadmill.  He could walk, as he was able each day, on that machine. It has been a great help for his overall health.

In the past few months, I wanted to start walking as well. Our grown sons moved the treadmill into a side room for me.  This room has concrete floors and is difficult to heat in winter. But I hope the wood stove, in an adjoining room, will keep it warm enough through the cold season.

On the other end of this room is a stationary bike.  Someone gave this to one of our sons, years ago.  He cleaned it up and gave it to us.  I had the boys move the bike into our exercise room as well.

There is a fan near a back window for hot summer mornings. We also have a DVD player attached to a television on the side of the room. (We do not have cable.)

In the early morning, before anyone else is awake, I find a sermon on DVD by Charles Stanley. This is what I watch while I do my workout.  In Touch ministry has offered some for free, on occasion, over the last couple of years. I am slowing building up a collection and am very grateful for these wonderful messages.

On a recent morning, I got distracted and thought I would just get on the computer and check emails and such before I started my workout.  By the time I turned on the sermon and started my routine, my mind was so distracted, I had a difficult time getting any benefit out of the pastor's message.  I have made it a rule for myself that I will not do anything else until I have heard the wonderful sermon. I give it my full attention as I do my exercises.  This has brought me a great deal of peace as well as spiritual and physical health.

French curtains in Mrs. White's exercise room

I have such a lovely view in this room.  A set of white lace curtains were given to me, some years ago, by a kind and dear friend.  The package they came in said they were made in France.  I had these put on our glass doors to add a peaceful touch to our workout room.  I can look out onto our front porch, and the front grounds beyond.  Sometimes I hear the morning birds chirping sweetly as they start their day.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Mister is not Able to work - The Shabby Garden.

Making the Best of things - Poor and Pretty Living.

Homemade Lessons from My Childhood - Manners Learned at the Finishing School.

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. 


Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Housekeeper's Budget

Library of Congress: Husband and Wife going over House Account in 1941 Minnesota

As another month draws to an end, it is time to reflect on the household budget. I am ready to close out this month's account.  This is where I add up all the bills that were paid, the money I spent, and the money I gave away.  Every dollar and dime is accounted for because I write it in a book. This helps me see what I am doing wrong, or how I can fix things for the coming months.  It also keeps a record (or a history) of our home expenses.

A good housekeeper must be a good manager. One of the biggest goals she should have is to live on a budget.  She must learn to live within the income the house is provided with. This takes time and effort. It even takes a great deal of wisdom and logic to avoid the traps and temptations of the advertising world around us.

We are taught, in our modern world, to save money by spending it.  This is a genius advertising method to get us to spend as much money as possible.   There are many ways to save money and we must learn to be creative and find what works in our own situation. For instance, I can tell you how to save money on winter heat here in Vermont. But it will not help someone living in Florida. We can share ideas on how to save, but we must take only the advice which works for our own family.

We had a couple of high bills outside of our budget recently. A car repair bill (which I consider to be part of a yearly expense) was more than I expected.  There were also a few emergency trips which cost extra money in gas and charity.  This put me over my spending.  Since we live on a fixed income, I had to take the extra money out of a small savings account to make up the difference.  This is not good because that savings cannot be replaced.  So next month I have readjusted my expenses to keep my spending low.  One of the biggest ways I did this was to cut my gas and grocery money.  This means I will have to work much harder in making homemade meals and to stay home as much as possible.  These are not difficult things to do, but they do take time and effort. They also require some sacrifice on my part. I am willing to do this because it will help our family and home for the long term.

I could either be wasteful and foolish or I can be frugal and careful. I choose to work here at home, doing my part, to keep us out of the poor house. Every housekeeper ought to have that same attitude.  The lady of the house can spend her family into poverty or she can manage the money well and bring peace and security into her home for many years. The stability of a home depends on how well the household funds are managed.

Does it matter if you are poor or rich?  In other words, is it okay to be careless and carefree and wasteful in our management of money just because we have plenty?  Being frugal and a good manager of one's income is something every single household should practice.  No business will last long if they spend more than they make.  No household will stay out of the poor house if they spend more than they make. One should not make a habit of spending out of the savings account or of getting into debt to get through the month.  All of us have to live within our income.

 I want to explain the importance of little savings.  We can earn a few pennies in a savings account.  We may look at our bank statement and think it is a paltry, insignificant income.  However, if you think about that interest earned in a new way - you may be more likely to appreciate every little dime.

1. I have been paying my electric bill over the phone with a check (or debit card) for over a year.  There is no fee. There is no cost.  This has saved me one stamp per month.  That is like earning 48 cents in interest for the month.

2. I just learned that I can also do this with my phone bill.  This will save me another stamp and earn me another 48 cents.

In these two items I have earned almost a dollar by doing something different. That is 12 dollars a year which could buy a gift for someone's birthday.  It is by being creative and by being careful with money that we can be successful mangers.  Can we face most all things in our financial life in a similar way? Could we try to spend less in every aspect of our household without really changing our quality of life?

The housekeeper's budget is just a simple notebook listing all the fixed expenses like the rent or mortgage. It includes the electric bill, the phone bill, and the cost of insurance.  There is an amount for groceries and gas and any other expense that is required to run one's home.

Another book could be the "house account" book where all the money that is spent is recorded as they happen throughout the month.  This is where we see the truth of how the budget is working.  We can see any mistakes we make or any changes that are necessary. It takes a bit of thought and time to keep household financial books, but they are an important part of managing a home with care and wisdom.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

A 12 Week Challenge - Economy for the Christian Home.

Simple Living - Retirement Planning for the Poor.

The precious joy of Grandchildren - I hear Angels Crying.

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, July 22, 2018

Supper Time with Papa

The Supper Table at Mrs. White's Vermont Home

Lately it has been difficult to take the extra time to prepare and serve supper for my husband. We have grown children and grandchildren here a great deal of the time. Everyone's schedule is different.  Many have varied diets, especially toddlers and preschoolers who will mostly eat chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese.  This is hardly the type of food that will nourish a grown man. (gentle smiles.)

Our grown children have different work schedules, which often means there is only one or two of us here at the supper hour.  Many of us have gotten into the habit of just making a quick meal and sitting at a TV table and watching a program while we eat.  While that is certainly okay, it should not be the regular routine.

A few weeks ago, I told Papa I would get back into making regular dinners for the evening hour. Since then, I have been doing this every night.  Even though the work is tiring, I find great joy in cooking and cleaning here at home.  I have been so busy with errands and appointments for all the family that I often long to be at home and just can't wait to make supper for Papa. It is a quiet part of winding down the day and enjoying the basics of home life. It brings rest and comfort to us all.

In the photograph above you will notice there is a normal size plate at Papa's place, but a small (bread plate) at my place.  We eat different size portions, so I like to use suitable plates.

Sometimes, I will eat supper earlier in the day with the grandchildren when they are visiting. Or perhaps Papa (who is disabled) will be asleep at the dinner hour, so I eat alone.  In that case, later on when Papa is ready,  I will just have my dessert while sitting next to him so we can still enjoy our supper time together.  (Tonight I will have strawberry shortcake.)

Here is tonight's menu:

"Hamburger and Vegetable Soup over Mashed Potatoes"

This was my mother's recipe.  She made this often and we children loved it. You simply fry up a pound of hamburger. Once this is finished cooking, you add one can (10 and 1/2 oz.) of condensed vegetable soup.  Then fill up the can with water and add this to the burger. I bring this to a gentle boil and then let simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5 to 10 minutes.

Earlier in the day, I peeled and cut up 5 pounds of potatoes. I placed them in a large pot and covered with water, (to prevent browning and keep the potatoes nice until I was ready to cook them), then I put a lid on the pan and let sit until it was almost supper time.   Potatoes are very easy to make. I like to add a little salt and pepper to the water and then boil them (stirring occasionally) for about 25 to 30 minutes. Once these are drained, I mash them by hand with a potato masher.  I add about 1/3 of a stick of butter, some milk, and more salt and pepper.

I have a pretty tempered glass cutting board which can be used as a trivet.  This is where I can put a hot pan or casserole dish to protect the table from the heat. It has a beautiful background along with the words, "Serve One Another in Love" which is based on Galatians 5:13.

Tempered Glass trivet at Mrs. White's home

I put the hamburger mixture in a small casserole pan, and the potatoes went into a serving dish.

Hamburger and Vegetable Soup with Mashed Potatoes ready to serve.

When the food was all ready to serve, and the table was all set, I went to get Papa. I wanted to say, "Supper is ready." But he had fallen asleep. (gentle smiles)  So I dished out a small portion to show you what it looks like once it is served.

 Supper is served!

You just put some mashed potatoes on the plate, and then top it with the hamburger mixture. It is hearty and filling!

Since Papa was asleep, I put a cover on the casserole dish. Then I put the potatoes in a plastic bowl with a cover.  These both went into the refrigerator. Papa will eat it later on when he is ready.  I don't mind that he was asleep because that gave me the idea to take all these pictures and share with you!


From the Archives -

A Happy Marriage - Cooking for Mister.

In Case you Wondered - Why the High Cost of Food?

Remember this - The House Comes First.

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. 


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Summer Days with Small Children

Pink Hydrangeas on Mrs. White's front Porch 

We have been enjoying having the children and grandchildren over quite a bit the last few weeks. Summer days are a relaxing time to enjoy the outdoors and the peaceful pace of the season.

It is good to have a routine to prevent grumpiness in the family. Children can get overwhelmed with all the activity and they may get over-tired.  A routine and a schedule can help prevent this.

When I was growing up, all the mothers in the neighborhood were home.  I had relatives who lived on our street, as well as on a few streets over.  We would get together for picnics in our front yard.  There was watermelon and just happy times of playing.  We children would walk around the neighborhood, going to the corner store and to the private beach at the end of our Massachusetts street.

We were always delighted when the ice cream truck would drive down our road. We would be outside playing and hear the bell.  Since we lived on a dead-end road, we knew we had time to run to our Mothers for some change.  Then we would run back out to the sidewalk and wait with the money in our hands. We would just stand there, like good, sweet children, waiting patiently.  Soon we would hear the bell ringing and the truck would be heading back to us.  We loved taking our time choosing which treat we wanted.

When my own children were growing up, times were very different.  There were not so many mothers at home anymore.  But I kept a traditional summer routine, much like the one my mother had for us.

We would get up early and have our breakfast before the heat really settled in.  Any chores or baking had to be done in the morning hours.  I often started the process of supper before we got too tired.  This might be peeling potatoes, putting them in a large pan and filling it up with water.  I could just put a cover on this and let it sit until three in the afternoon when I started making the evening meal.  I was always a slow worker and wanted plenty of time to do the job.  When there was a lot of time available, there was less stress.  There would always be interruptions. Children would want to hear a story, or someone would need a Band-Aid.   Perhaps the phone would ring.  (This was before caller ID and before answering machines.)  I would make the call brief because the focus at this time of day was family and the dinner hour.   Most people understood that the evening time was just for family and the peaceful routine of winding down the day. Slowly and peacefully the kitchen work would be accomplished.

Throughout summer days, the children would have time to play outside.  I would often sit nearby while they played and laughed together. They always did something cute or entertaining that brought me a great deal of joy! 

Sometimes I would encourage a new game if they were getting bored. I would show them how to set up some toys and get them started.  This would quiet them down and they would get back to their play.  I tried not to let the children get "too riled up" because it would wear them out so much that they would get grumpy.  Children need peace and gentleness.  They need mother with patience and wisdom.

The children would need plenty of juice and light snacks. Lunch was always at around noon each day.  Then it was time for naps and rest in a nice cool room.  Often, the children needed to hear a few stories to help them to relax before their nap.

A nutritious snack and more juice would be served after this. We always had the children fold their little hands and bow their heads in prayer for all meals and snacks. It was so precious to see their little happy faces as they did this.

Soon they were back outside in the fresh air and sunshine.  If there was a baby, we would often just settle in the shade on a blanket or with a carriage (stroller).  We would usually stay outside for about an hour at a time and then come back in to rest or to play indoors.

 I always had the children help me with the chores, whether it was folding towels, sweeping the porch, or doing the dishes.  The children enjoyed helping me because we all did it together and talked and smiled.  I would praise them for their hard work and they would feel proud of themselves.  They needed to feel they were helpful and doing good things.

If it was very hot, there would be plenty of Popsicles served throughout the day. But we only ate at the kitchen table.  This helped keep the house neat and clean. Of course, the children were also welcome to have their treat outside and we often did this with watermelon at the picnic table.

The children loved to play with bubbles, little kiddie pools, beach toys, toy trucks, and baby dolls.  They could play for long periods of time if only a few items were offered. This way they were not overwhelmed. I would often help them clean up their games after use. This helped in two ways:

1.  The work was kept up to keep things generally in order.

2.  If everything was put away several times throughout the day, the children were always delighted to start fresh and play.  (Usually if the toys are left out and there is a mess, the children don't seem to notice their games and get bored. But if it is all cleaned up they want to play all over again!)

The main focus of the house was on the happiness and peacefulness of the family. If there was yelling or quarrelling among the children, it didn't last long.  All childish troubles were gently calmed with encouragement, wisdom, patience, and a great deal of understanding and love.

After supper, it would be bath time.  Soon the children would be cozy in their pajamas.  There was quiet play in the living room with perhaps a time of reading.  Sweet, sleepy children would be tucked into their beds with a prayer, a hug and kiss, and a gentle encouragement of a "goodnight. I'll see you in the morning."

These days, I am hearing that this kind of childhood is not so common in our culture.  Many mothers work outside the home.  When children are not in school or daycare, they attend something called, "day camp" in the summer months.  I very much appreciate that this is available for the working parents. But I can't help wondering what little ones are missing out on, when they are not able to have carefree summers at home, year-after-childhood-year, with Mama.


From the Archives -

Precious Days - Walking the Gardens with Baby.

A Blessing to have - A House Full of Babies.

A Happy Home - Serving Mister.

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. 


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

30th Wedding Anniversary

Library of Congress:  Earle Landis family, 1942, anniversary party in Pennsylvania

In just a few days, Papa and I will have our 30th wedding anniversary. I have been trying to think of ways to make it a special day.  We are not the type of people who go out for a special dinner, or take a vacation, or spend money on expensive gifts.  Even though we would certainly enjoy those things, we have never had the funds.  The last time we went out to dinner together was shortly after we were married, 30 years ago.  We have been focused on the quiet of home and raising a family. There has always been work to do.  There will always be work on our anniversaries as well.  It is the work of loving our home, our children, and our grandchildren.  We just have to find a way to make special days a bit distinctive and above the ordinary.

I can just imagine what Ma Ingalls would have done during a time when they lived in seclusion out on the prairie.  Perhaps she would have dressed up a bit with a pretty ribbon in her hair.  She would have saved good sugar, over time, to be able to make an anniversary cake.  After the family did the farm work and all the regular chores which were necessary for survival, perhaps Pa would have surprised Ma with some precious homemade gift to delight her. It was just little thoughtful things that made special days distinctive.

This year I will make a white cake, and use my white tablecloth.  I have a special photo album (an anniversary book) showing our years together.  I will find a few pictures from this past year and add them to the book.  Papa and I recently had our picture taken, just a few days ago, during an outside picnic for one of the grandchildren.  I will add this picture to my wedding anniversary book.  (I would share it here, but must protect Papa's privacy.  - gentle smiles)

Some of the children and grandchildren will be here to visit.  Some of us will attend church services, since the anniversary falls on a Sunday this year.  We will make the house look extra pretty and a bit festive.  Then, in the quiet of the afternoon, we will thank the Lord for giving us these many years together and ask for many more.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

A Special Gift for Grandbaby - Tea Napkins.

Difficulty of Motherhood - Pioneer Homeschooling Mothers.

The Mother of D.L. Moody - Poverty in the 1800's.

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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