Sunday, January 9, 2022

Trials of Winter Homemaking

Winter Scenery at a lake near Mrs. White's Home.

This is such a cold time of year.  I have frequent errands during the week and the bitter cold is making me feel numb and weary.   I am grateful, however, for a warm house and a warm car.

Our heat was not working properly last week.  We called a technician who came right over.  He was able to replace a part in the furnace and that fixed the problem.  I am amazed there are people who will leave a warm house and drive out in the freezing cold to help others!  I am very thankful.

A few days before this, our kitchen oven stopped working. I have been told that modern appliances don't last as long as they used to.  We have had this one for about six years.  Since I am used to this kind of trial, we immediately switched to stove top cooking only.   I stopped baking muffins, cookies, pizza, etc.  It is not possible to run out the door to buy a new oven.  So we adapt and make the best of what we have.  I have also noticed that the price of new appliances is unbearably high. We will wait it out.

I started having oatmeal in the morning instead of my homemade muffins.  I am making homemade soups and spaghetti. We will still eat well.  We will be okay.

Some of the things I wanted to do this year include walking each day.  To keep track of my commitment, I write it down on a calendar whenever I walk. Some days I will walk twice, which is wonderful.  I either walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes, or I will walk about the house for a steady 30 minutes.  This is a good goal for maintaining my health this year.

I am also reading a daily devotional. It is very brief, and takes only minutes to read, but it is packed with powerful spiritual food which I love.  The book is called, "Daily Food for Christians" and was originally published around 1830 by the American Tract Society.


Interior pages from "Daily Food for Christians."


I first heard about the "Daily Food" book from the writings of Elizabeth Prentiss. She owned one of these and loved it.  It has been recently republished by the Legacy of Home Press and I am so happy to have my own copy.


"Daily Food for Christians" - The Legacy of Home Press edition.

 I wrote the preface for this book and added beautiful floral illustrations from Currier & Ives, from the 1800's.  You can find more about this book at the Legacy of Home Press publishing blog

The other day I was visiting at the home of some of my grandchildren.  Their Uncle was expected to visit at any moment.  One of the older children and I were watching for him out the front window.  There is a steep hill to get up to the house.  We finally saw him driving up the snowy road when his car got stuck.  The tires were spinning and he was only half-way up the hill. I immediately cried out to the Lord in prayer to help him get up the hill.  Very quickly, his car moved and he easily drove the rest of the way without further trouble. My grandson turned to look at me in surprise.  We were both so grateful and blessed by a quick answer to prayer!

Homemaking in winter is a challenge and an adventure.  Each day I try to do as much cleaning and decorating as I can to make things look pleasant around us.   We are living in very difficult times, but each day I find great joy in listening to hymns as I clean, or singing hymns as I go about the work.  I offer up quiet prayers for help, or thanksgiving, as I go along.  This brings me a peace and closeness with the Lord that is comforting and sustaining.

The other day, I opened some of the windows in the upstairs parlour, as if it were a pretty spring day.  There is snow outside and some icicles on the house, but there was little wind.  I was able to get some beautiful mountain air into our home and it was lovely.  After a little while, I shut the windows and the house was cozy and comfortable. We have a wood pellet stove on the second floor and we often turn it on in the early evening hours.  Sitting by this fire reminds me of old stories by Charles Dickens, such as "Dombey and Son."  I love to read by the fire, even if I only have a few minutes. I have books all over the house so I can read a little whenever I get a chance, and then save my place with a bookmark for the next time.

Winter is a beautiful time of year, but spring will also be here before long.  Happy days are ahead for us all.  


Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Homemade Lessons from my Aunt - Manners Learned at the Finishing School.

Finding Happiness in - Poor and Pretty Living.  

In case you wondered - The Secret to a Clean House.

Mrs. White's special book for homemakers:"Introduction to Home Economics:  Gentle Instruction to Find Joy in Christian Homemaking."

Find stories of home life, with photographs of my home, in this encouraging book. 

 Paperback, 200 pages. 


Mrs. Crane said...

Thank you dear one for this encouragement. I just put a lot of money in my furnace and had to shut it down because it was blowing soot. So I have an electric heater in my room and a kerosene heater downstairs. It is enough to keep the icy chill off but still cold for doing much downstairs. I’m spending time in the Psalms and prayers, I have a homemakers notebook I’m planning out what I want to do come spring.

I haven’t had a stove or oven for years due to a gas leak. I have a toaster oven, a 2 plate cooktop, pressure cooker and slow cooker. For my son and me it is enough!

Blessings to you dear friend. Your books are a daily inspiration.

Love Anita

Lynn said...

I too am encouraged by your methods of walking...I will be doing the same...there is a treadmill in my building so I will use it daily for 30 minutes as you do. It really does help knowing a friend is doing the same thing every day. It is motivating.

Janine said...

Thanks for this glimpse into your peaceful home. I went without an oven for almost 3 years. Of course, during that time I kept thinking, "I want to bake a cake! I want to make muffins!" Finally I had enough and went out to price them, and bought a wall oven for $400 (16 yrs ago). Then, because it was spring and no longer cold I promptly forgot I had a working oven and continued to just cook on the stove! Habits... I hope you can get yours working before next winter.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I just wanted to say I really enjoy your blog. I also wanted to share that an Electric Roaster can be a wonderful substitute for an oven. I bought a 22 QT size Roaster. It is big enough to cook a 28lb turkey, but can also be used to bake. I just wanted to share for anyone in need of a way to bake. The one I bought is now about $65 (up nearly $20), but still cheaper than an oven. :)

Billie Jo said...

I enjoyed my visit with you here today. I always feel warm and cozy as I read about your life, Mrs. White. Thank you for being a voice for homemakers and mothers. Stay safe and healthy! said...

Depending on whether it is gas or electric, you may just have to replace a part. Look online to troubleshoot. Is there a handyman in your community that would swap a service for baked goods? Could not hurt to ask. Take care and stay well.

Homemaker's Heart said...

Hello Mrs. White, It is so lovely to hear about the happenings at your home. You mentioned about opening the window for a short time, I had read about this in the book The American Woman's Home. She speaks of opening the windows even in winter, for just a few minutes each morning to let in fresh air. It's so good for us.
I'm sorry to hear about your oven, but glad to have the reminder that ovens now a days only last 6 to 7 years. Ours is 6 years old. I think I better start saving a little here and there for it.
On my counter I have an "Oster 31160840", if you type that in Amazon it will show the oven. You can toast, bake, broil and keep warm. I have baked muffins in it and they come out well. I bought this due to the heat in summer. I don't like to turn on the oven, since we don't have air conditioning, but I still need to bake something briefly. This also doesn't have to heat the whole oven just for an 8 minute heat up.
It's so uplifting to read about other ladies and how we all are walking a short bit daily for exercise and to lift our spirits. I believe in Pride and Prejudice they call it "taking a turn around the room".
Wishing you blessings and a warm cup of tea, Mrs. Peterson

Amelia said...

So nice to hear how you are doing, oh my goodness, the prayers that must have poured forth when Uncle's tires were stuck, you can feel it in your bones. Thank the Lord his car was un-stuck!

Thank you for the devotional suggestion, that looks wonderful!

God bless you, take care and stay warm. ~Amelia

Mama to 12, so far said...

I enjoyed reading your post today. I am sorry about your oven. Sometimes you can find used ones. When ours quit we found a used one for 50.00. It sure was a blessing and is still running strong seven years later! Thank you for sharing the book. And what a great idea about walking for 30 minutes straight around the house. I usually walk outside but it is far too cold this week.

Rhonda said...

In our experience, new appliances are not built to last. 5-7 years seems to be the lifespan and that doesn’t always even happen.
It’s nice to read an encouraging post like yours ❤️

Mrs. Laura Lane said...

Dear Mrs. White,
You have a way of taking the most challenging of circumstances and reframing in a language of love, faith in God and love of home and family. I really love that about you.
Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage,
Mrs. Laura Lane

living from glory to glory said...

Dear Mrs, White, You sure live in a lovely part of the country, but as you said it is bitter cold in the winter. But you have a very grateful heart and thankful for a warm home and car! And so sorry about your oven not working, if my son was close by he would fix it.
I am ordering this devotional! I will pray you find a used one or gifted one!
Always enjoy your posts and heart for home...
Hugs, Roxy

Nancy said...

Good evening! Praying that you are all warm and well. You can actually bake in an iron skillet on the stovetop. When my oven died years ago, I baked for over a year in my electric skillet. Made the BEST brownies ever! I had to flip biscuits to get them done in the electric skillet but it worked.

Linda said...

That was exciting to read about the quick answer to prayer !! with your Uncles car. :) and...I'm so sorry to read your without an oven again !! I've been reading through your blog posts from many years back and read where you went through this another time too. Oh my !! You do inspire me though the way you quickly are able to adapt to the situation. That shows the joy of the Lord truly lives in your heart. I was reading through the other lovely comments and I too agree that little toaster ovens are great. We purchased one a few years back & it does everything, from roast a chicken to bake a cake. It has all sorts of functions, even reheat. We got it marked 50% off. I'll pray you can get a new oven of some sort soon. Many blessings to you ~ Linda

Anonymous said...

I would also repeat the advice that if you can get ahold of a toaster oven it is a much cheaper way to go (if it isn't a part replacement issue - but I had to fix mine this year and it took months for the parts to come in with the supply chain problems.

I've had a toaster oven for years and I have used it to bake mini-batches: 6 biscuits, 6 cinnamon rolls, 6 muffins, etc. There are even mini-cake-type pans at the store made to fit in them! It's handy in the summer when I can't bear the run the oven and make the AC run more.

Good luck.

TheLoriA said...

Hello, Mrs. White. What a lovely blog post. Thank you. I hope repairs on anything that you need can come speedily. I have decided to re-read all of your blog posts from the beginning to present day. I did that once years ago when I first discovered it. It was comforting. Prayers for you and your family. Best Blessing, Lori

Marilyn @ MountainTopSpice said...

You have such a precious spirit of encouragement and peace in spite of difficult and challenging circumstances. I am thankful that the Lord answered your prayer quickly and got uncle up the driveway. I will pray the Lord brings an answer to your stove dilemma, He always does! Like some others said, you can use a roaster, or even an instant pot to cook like an oven. Of course, it is not the same, but could work in a pinch. I think keeping a happy perspective about every difficult thing brings peace and contentment to our hearts, and then we see how God can work things out! I am glad your heating issue got fixed quickly, that is a blessing for sure! It has been very cold here too. Soon though... spring will come! Blessings and hugs!

Simply Handmade Farmhouse said...

Mrs White, I love reading your daily life, thankful God answered your prayer for your Uncle. He will be faithful on your need for another stove! Stay warm, Teresa

Leslie McKinley said...

Thank you for your gentle words and lovely attitude. Even when things are difficult, there is always something to praise God for. Can't wait to get my own copy of the devotional.