December 7

We’re baaaaack!

Good morning!

It is 3 a.m. here in the Eastern time zone of the U.S. and I can’t sleep.  Why can’t I sleep?  Because I’m so flippin’ excited about everything going on in my life, including having time to blog again, that I just had to get out of bed and get started.   We’re baaaaaack!  And I’ve missed you.

I’m excited about all the things to come for this blog.  I’m excited about all the new things I have to share with you.   And I’m excited about getting back to a nice, normal routine–or whatever my version of that is.   Can you say weekly cleaning checklist?  Yup. It’s coming back soon.

So what’s been going on over here at our house the past several months? And what can you expect to see right here coming up in the next few?

img_1418Lots has happened since last time we talked.  For one, we had a wedding in the family.  Our oldest daughter married the love of her life back in July.  It was a beautiful luau held at her grandmother’s house and a wonderful time was had by all.

We had our annual big band bash in August.  Have you ever entertained for over 100 people at a time? In your own home?  With two bands involved?   It’s quite an adventure, I can assure you.   One of these days I will do a blog post on how to organize such a thing, just in case you ever need to throw a really big party.  It’s not as expensive or difficult as one might think, if you know how to do it.

Our grandson and youngest daughter moved back home.  There’s nothing like hearing the pitter patter (or the bang bang bang!) of a five-year-old in the house again.   Mr. C and I are loving having them back and are especially looking forward to Christmas morning this year.  (As you can see by the photo, we enjoyed Halloween just as much!) I also look forward to all the post opportunities that having a little one around again has given me.  There should be some interesting things to add from the live-in grandmother perspective.

What else?  Let’s see  . . .  I completed my herbalist certification and apprenticeship.    What an amazing experience that was!   Herbs have changed my life in more ways that I can count, and I look forward to sharing all kinds of tips, tricks, and info about the little ways you can use common herbs, many of which are growing right in your own yard, to improve your family’s health.

Being involved with herbs and natural healing also lead Mr. C img_6067and me to an easy-to-follow, all natural and herbal program called Evolv.   We started onto that path for ourselves to help heal our bodies without toxins, and we love it so much that we became representatives.   I’ll be sharing some of the info we’ve learned about helping yourself heal through dietary changes (that don’t involve Kale!) and other small tweaks using things like aloe vera and beets to get rid of those annoying muscle, joint, lung, skin, weight, and other issues that plague us with you over the coming months.

And if you are still looking for ways to make some money from home, I’ll share some of the info with you as well.  We’ll actually be doing a whole series on money-saving and money earning coming up for you this coming year.   I have a friend who has gotten into super couponing and does very well with it.  I am hoping to pick her brain and do a feature post or two for you on that as well.  You’ve got to see what the girl can do with a stack of coupons and $20.  It’s really quite remarkable.

By popular request, for those of you who have started off in life without much reference on matters of cooking, sewing, and cleaning, I’ll be featuring more posts with my Mom, and we are hoping to finally get around to getting some videos made showing how to do some basic household chores.

Lots of things on the horizon!  Now you know why I’m so excited!

My hope is that while I’ve been away from you, I’ve not only gotten a little grayer, but hopefully a little wiser and can bring you more useful info to help in your homes and with your families.  As always, we welcome your comments and participation.  It’s what keeps me inspired to write.

13557735_10208483148169425_2526182025394893474_nAnd finally, on that note, thank you to all of you who wrote to me to encourage me to continue this blog.   Thank you to those who sent donations to help pay for the hosting expenses (which are going up again now that our monthly readership has passed beyond the current capabilities of this page.)    Currently the ads you see on this page do not bring in enough yearly to cover those increased hosting fees, and I’m hoping to avoid monetizing this blog more so that I can keep it reader friendly.  So I appreciate those donations very much!

That’s it for now.  We love you, and we’ve missed you, and we’re so happy to be back!

November 16

Stouffers Can Stuff It. A guest post.

tvdin08Andrea Edwards is a regular reader of the Modern Day 50’s Housewife.   She sent in the following guest post for all to enjoy.   She didn’t include a title, but after reading it, I thought Stouffers Can Stuff It sounded just about right.  🙂  Enjoy!  A guest post, by Andrea Edwards:

Somewhere between the Great Pumpkin visiting and Old Saint Nick sliding down the chimney lies Thanksgiving. It’s a day rich in the traditions of family, friends, football and, yes, food. While most of these traditions have remained constant over the years, one has clearly adapted to the instant-gratification driven society we have become: the food.

Mashed potatoes in a box, stuffing in a bag, vegetables in a can, pies in the frozen section, and whipped cream in a tub. And if all that pre-packaged food is still too much work, one can always purchase an entire Thanksgiving dinner, picture perfect and ready for family and friends, right at the local grocery store. Women of the 1950s would be grateful for some of the modern conveniences we have, but would rather have skipped their weekly beauty parlor appointment than allow Stouffer’s or Marie Callender to prepare Thanksgiving dinner. Many of us would say that spending time with those we love is the best part of Thanksgiving, yet refuse to take the time to prepare a home-cooked meal for them. It’s sad enough that we need a day on the calendar to remind us to come together and be thankful, but to imply our families aren’t worth the time it takes to prepare a home-cooked meal… the women before us would be appalled!

Have you started planning your Thanksgiving meal yet? unknownHas family booked their flights to visit? Are you looking forward to the day with anticipation or are you dreading the impending visit that you see more as an obligation than a joy? We all have so much going on day-to-day it would seem almost impossible for life to slow down enough that we could put forth an effort to plan and prepare a Thanksgiving meal. Work, kids, community events, volunteer work, husbands, and a myriad of other responsibilities seem like the perfect excuses to order that ready-made Thanksgiving dinner. I would like to propose that these very things are the exact reason that we need to slow down and give our families what they deserve: a meal that would make the women of the 50s proud; a meal prepared by our own two hands. Everyday life has our attention on a daily basis, to the point that our own families sometimes come in second place.

Is planning and preparing Thanksgiving dinner always a pleasure? Of course not! It’s a lot of work! But there is something about your husband looking at you and saying, Honey, this is amazing! Or a neighbor who had nowhere to go taking their first bite of your great grandmother’s secret recipe for bourbon sweet potatoes, and savoring every flavor, that makes the effort all worthwhile.

Modern Day 50s women unite! Let’s take back Thanksgiving and bring back the traditions of those before us. Let’s mash our own potatoes, stuff our own turkeys, bake our own pies, and most of all, let’s create our own memories that will last a lifetime.

—Andrea Edwards

October 17

1950s Presidents vs Our Current Candidates

http://ushistory1950.weebly.com/presidents-of-the-1950s.html
photo credit: Weebly.com

With all the chatter about our current U.S. Presidential options (or lack thereof, according to many), I thought I would take a look back at who was President of the United States in the 50s and do a little bit of comparison, just for fun. I was going to do a bit of a spoof, but then I learned a thing or two and I must admit that it was enlightening.   It didn’t turn out quite as I expected.  And it turns out that there really isn’t anything to laugh at.  Take a look at our 1950s Presidents vs our current candidates.

We had two different Presidents in the United States during the 1950s.  The first was Harry Truman, who became President when Franklin D. Roosevelt passed away in 1945.  President Truman stayed in office until 1952.   According to Weebly.com:

Truman had already made several indelible marks on the pages of history long before the 50s had begun. Truman vetoed the Taft-Harley Act which amended the National Labor Relations Act. The Taft-Hartley Act prohibited jurisdictional strikes, wildcat strikes, political strikes, secondary boycotts, picketing, closed shops and donations to unions by the federal campaigns. Truman also created the Truman Doctrine which was used to try to contain communism in Eastern Europe.

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photo credit Weebly.com

The second U.S. President during the 50’s was Dwight D. Eisenhower–A President that Americans rank in the top 10 of all time.  Weebly says, “He was a five-star general in the United States Army and the 34th President of the United States, 1953 until 1961. During World War II, he served as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe, with responsibility for planning and supervising the successful invasion of France and Germany in 1944–45, from the Western Front. In 1951, he became the first supreme commander of NATO. While in office Eisenhower he threatened to use nuclear weapons, forcing China to agree to a cease-fire of the Korean War. ”

Eisenhower also introduced the Eisenhower Doctrine during a speech on January 5, 1957.  It was a message to Congress that explained that under the Eisenhower Doctrine, a Middle Eastern country could request American economic assistance or aid from U.S. military forces if it was being threatened by armed aggression from another state.      He specifically stressed that this was necessary “to secure and protect the territorial integrity and political independence of such nations.”  He knew he needed allies to protect our economic interest in the oil that was found primarily in those countries.  Smart man.  Strategic thinker.

I’m not much into politics.  I leave that to those who feel a calling for such things, but I have always wondered where and when it began that the U.S. would go running and getting involved in every war overseas.  Now I have my answer, and I know why.  Is it still relevant?  More? Less?  That’s open for more discussion, but for now, let’s stay on the current topic.

What struck me most about these two gentlemen was their open willingness to stand up to the powerhouses who were ruling or attempting to rule over the general populations of our country, such as in the case of Truman’s opening up laborers’ ability to strike and protest and Eisenhower’s firm stand against the leaders of other countries, who quite frankly I would have found dauntingly frightening.  These men were fearless.

Eisenhower was a particularly strong leader who was completely committed to maintaining harmony among the allies.  It was widely known that he would not tolerate any internal bickering or rivalry among commanders. He had the authority, from Marshall, FDR, and Churchill, to relieve anyone guilty of creating disharmony and did so very quickly and decisively on several occasions.  A powerful leader, for sure– the type any man would not hesitate to get behind.

Sigh.  Which brings us to our current options.   I have grappled with these elections from every imaginable angle, and came out dismayed every time.   Neither candidate even begins to come close to being able to stand in the same room as the great presidents of the 1950s, and I will not insult the honor of President Truman or President Eisenhower’s names by creating a spoof piece about them.  Rather I ask you, my readers, do either of our current candidates hold any similarities to these two great men?   I want to know what you think ONLY in the form of comparisons to our 1950s presidents.  Do not go off on tangents outside of this comparison.  Please leave your comments below.  Comments that do not hold to this theme will be deleted.   How do you think our current Presidential options each compare to Truman and Eisenhower? Be they in general or very specific, all view are welcome

August 31

A 1960s Housewife Cleaning Routine

I grew up with a stay-at-home 1960s housewife in a house that was always spotless, to the point that people called my mom “the white tornado.”  If I recall correctly, this was at the time of those Mr. Clean commercials where the tornado came through and cleaned the house and then the tornado stopped spinning and it was Mr. Clean.  My mother, they claimed, was even better at keeping house than Mr. Clean. 983850_10204918128566163_5246808004367426432_n Even with a husband away in the military and a house full of kids (usually 5, but always at least 8 on the weekends), she got it all done every day.  So how did she do that?  Inquiring minds wanted to know, so I interviewed mom.   Here’s what she had to say about her daily cleaning routine.

Me:  Mom, how old were you when you first got married?
Mom:  I married in 1961, when I was 18 and I had my first son in May of 1962.  Of course, my husband was in the military so it was a challenge in the beginning.  I found our apartment on my own and furnished it while he was away.  Then he came home on leave and that resulted in my second son coming along in December of 1963.

Me:  That sounds like a lot of work for a military wife, all alone.  Did you have help from extended family?
Mom:  No.  I didn’t.  I was actually also cleaning my own mother’s house at the same time.  She lived across the street from me.

Me:  My readers will need to understand that eventually those long separations and the strain of being alone caused some changes in your life.  You inevitably divorced Sean Sr. and then married my father, Don.
Mom:  Yes, and Sean re-married as well.   But we all stayed very close, for the sake of the children.

Me: And dad had some children from an earlier marriage?
Mom:  Yes.  Three.  And then we had three more of our own.

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Top Row: Holly, Laurie, Tracey, Paul and Bottom row: Wendy, Sean, Carol, Kelly

Me.  Yes. I was the youngest of 8 that were regularly in our home including– Sean, Carol, Kelly, Paul, Tracey, Wendy, Laurie, and me.  And there was also Lisa and Francis from Sean Sr’s second marriage who would eventually spend some time with us as well.  How on earth did you manage with so many children?
Mom:   Preparation, organization, and team work.   I started teaching the concept of teamwork to all you kids as soon as you were old enough to help.   I figured if you could manage to take your clothes off at age 2, even when you weren’t supposed to, then you could certainly figure out how to get them in the hamper.   And even the youngest of children can help match socks.   So everyone learned early.

Me:  Give us one example of the type of preparation you speak of.
Mom:  Okay.  One example, our house at the time had two floors.   The second floor had all the bedrooms and the bathroom.   Every morning when we woke up, the older kids made their beds and brushed their teeth and got dressed into the clothes we laid out the night before while I cleaned and changed babies.

I had a changing table on the 2nd floor already set up the night before with all the babies’ needs–cloth diapers, fresh clothes, etc.  I also had a matching changing table downstairs already prepped with everything they would need during the day.  I prepped both the night before at the same time that we prepped the next day’s school clothes for all the kids.

1960s housewife
Mom and Me. 1969

While I finished getting the smaller children ready, any dusting that needed to be done in the bedrooms was done by the older kids (whoever had that chore that week).

Only after everyone was changed and ready for the day would we go ahead downstairs for breakfast.   Once downstairs, no child had any reason to go back upstairs for the entire day, except to use the bathroom, so that area of the house stayed very clean.

Me:  What about the children who were too young to make their own bed or get dressed themselves?
Mom:   As I mentioned before, I spent many years alone with the kids while my husband(s) were away in the military.  During that time we adopted a spirit of teamwork.  Everything we did was about team work.   The older kids would help with the beds of the younger ones.   Then as soon as a youngster was able, they would learn with the help of an older child–each doing one side of the bed.   And eventually the little ones would do it themselves.  Even if the work wasn’t perfect, it was okay.   It was about the effort, and it was about participating with the rest of the family.  This usually makes the little ones feel very good–to do their part.  Everyone wants to feel like they contribute and are part of something.

Me:  But what about toys?  How did we get to those if we couldn’t come back upstairs all day?
Mom:  The only things in the bedrooms were beds, bureaus (Note: those are “dressers” to all of you non-French Canadian readers), 2 small toys or stuffed animals per child, and lots of books.  There was no reason to keep anything else in there.  Those rooms were for sleeping only.  We had a play area downstairs for toys.  But even then, you have to realize that we didn’t have a lot of toys.  We had Barbies and GI Joes, yes.  But mostly we had different activity boxes.  Each box held certain activities such as coloring books and crayons, or paper and scissors, or things like that.   We took one activity box out at a time for projects.  And that mess had to be cleaned and put away before any other toys or activities were taken out.

This method served two purposes.   We would do things that took quite a bit of time and used the kids’ imaginations.  This kept them busy and kept them learning.    We didn’t own a Barbie house, but we made many through the years.  And it would take you kids all morning to build your Barbie town and you’d play with it all afternoon and into the evening.  Or your brothers’ GI Joes would come destroy it. :::laughs:::   Nobody was ever bored.

Me:  That brings two more questions to mind.  I’ll start with this.  What did you do with the babies all day while these projects were going on?
Mom:  Gates.  I relied on lots of gates to keep toddlers safe and in the same area as me throughout the day.  But if we were cutting paper, the toddlers had paper to tear up too.     If we were making cars out of boxes, the toddlers had boxes to play with too.  Everything was team work, starting at the youngest of ages.

Me:  And my next question.   How did you handle it when one child didn’t want to do what everyone else was doing? Or was acting out?   Certainly not all projects went smoothly?
Mom:   If any of the kids wanted to read or go outside and play instead, they could.  But if we were dragging out a project, that was the playing option for that time.  Parents cater too much to children these days.  They let them rule the house.  That creates many problems and it does nothing to prepare children for when they will have to conform to school activities.  It was “play this, or go outside.” That’s it.

Me:  And what about discipline?
Mom:  Most of the time I was able to manage with sitting an unruly child in a chair in front of me for a time with his/her arms folded.   Usually it would be 5 minutes.  I’d tell them why they were there and then when the time was up they had to tell me why they were there.   10628485_10204918128606164_4973294705562964140_nIf they even spoke a single word during the five minutes, we added 2 more each time.   And if they refused to tell me why they were seated there, they would stay in the chair until they did.   That didn’t alway work, but more often than not it was enough.  And when it wasn’t, we used good old-fashioned discipline methods that are not popular today, but certainly were accepted and very effective then.  I kept a nice supply of wooden spoons, but these were reserved for the older kids who dared to refuse to comply.

Me:  I am happy to say that was never me.  Anyway…back to cleaning.   Tell me more about some of your routines that you had in place.
Mom:   Oh.  Let’s see.   (pause) For the diapers–we used all cloth diapers back then– I had a great routine that kept things manageable.  I never had buckets full of dirty diapers because I would take care of them immediately.   We had a double sink in the kitchen and one side was very deep.   I kept that sink open throughout the day so that I could immediately wash diapers and hang them right after changing and settling the baby back in.   Only very dirty diapers were soaked in a  bucket of bleach water, and never for more than an hour or so before taking care to wash and hang those too.  Once you are into the routine, it just adds a couple more minutes on to each diaper change and you never had to worry about the stench of dirty diapers stacking up in the house or having to wash a mountain of disgusting mess.   They were always done.   This also kept me from having to buy dozens of diapers.  If you are cleaning them all the time, there is no need.

It worked the same way with dishes throughout the day.  All were washed, dried, and put away immediately, by me and the children.   Our everyday dishes were unbreakable so that all the children could take part in helping with meal prep and clean up.   Again, it’s that teamwork thing.   If possible, kids helped prepare lunch, and then we all cleaned up.   As soon as a child was able to hold a towel, they could help dry their own bowl.  Maybe not always perfectly, but I’d let them try then tidy it up a bit more as I put it away.   All meals were handled this way.10628485_10204918128606164_4973294705562964140_n

Me:  And none of us complained?
Mom:  There was occasional moaning, but you all knew you didn’t have an option. Everyone who makes messes cleans messes.
Me:  Ah.  Good rule.
Mom:  I learned early on the value of: “Say what you mean and mean what you say.”   If a child was acting up and I threatened to put them in a chair, I learned that I’d better follow through every single time or they would learn that they could act out and get away with it.  So consistency was key.  And you all learned that if I said it, I meant business.

Me:  Tell us more of your routines.
Mom:    Laundry was another big one.  With 7 to 10 people in the house every single day, there was never a shortage of that, so I had several systems in place to keep it under control.   It would start in the morning with bed making.   One child each day would strip his or her bed and put the sheets in the laundry.  We had a schedule for that because we had so many beds to keep up with.   We also had a bath towel and a hand towel labeled with each child’s name.  Those hung on hooks in the bathroom.  You were responsible for making sure that your towels were hung on the hooks, and not left on the floor.  The younger children had lower hooks.  Starting at age 3 or so, they were more than capable of hanging their towels, and I was there to help them figure it out.  This set them up for the later years.  If anyone didn’t hang theirs, they got to clean other parts of the bathroom too, so there was good motivation to keep them hung up.   Face clothes were only used once and thrown into the laundry.  Towels were washed 2-3 sets at a time in rotation just like the sheets.  Otherwise, I would have had two full loads of just towels every day. And considering that everything had to be hung out on lines, that would have been overload for sure.

Every article of clothing was marked for each child.   For items that would never pass down, I’d write the first initial of the child (socks, and underwear, for example.)    For items that would pass down by size, I would use numbers.   So the oldest would start in number ones.  Then those would pass to his brother.  And so on. We then we would just keep a chart of which child was currently wearing number 1s or 2’s, and which was wearing number 4’s, etc.  Some kids grow faster than others, so it wasn’t always by age.  It was always by size.  Writing numbers with a fabric marker (before Sharpies) was easier to see than trying to find the size on a worn out tag.   This was invaluable when sorting laundry.   Once sorted, everyone came to get their pile and put it away.   For the little ones, we had pictures of a shirt on the outside of the shirt drawer, and pants on the outside of the pants drawer, and so on.  So they could put their own clothes away.  Once they learned that they would have to put them away, there was never a problem of a child going and pulling things out of a drawer again.

Me:  I remember that.   I grew faster than my sisters when I hit puberty and got more of the newer clothes.  They didn’t like that. hah!
Mom:  And then a year or so after that there were four of us all in the same size.   We had to expand and then had a huge wardrobe then.  :::laughs::: it was fun.

And also, all throughout the school years, we had clothing designated for school only.   You all changed out of those as soon as you came home.  And every night after dinner, clothes for the next day, including gym clothes, were laid out so there were no arguments or missing items to hunt for in the morning.  Routines, routines, routines.  Very important.

Me:  I remember when my girls were young and Mr. C was working out-of-town for weeks at a time, I struggled to bring three kids under the age of four to the supermarket.   How on earth did you do it with 5-8 kids??
Mom:  It was different in the early years than the later years.   In the early years a few things were very different from now.   First, kids were generally more well-behaved.  Respect and obedience were taught differently.  Secondly, the market was smaller than it is now.   We didn’t have 120 different varieties of cereal or 80 kinds of spaghetti sauce.  So, I’d back up a stroller with the baby, which would be pushed by an older child.   A toddler was in the shopping cart with me.  And the rest stayed just behind me. Walking in line.  Behaving for the most part.    Shopping was quick because I would have prepared menus for the week and knew exactly what I needed.  I never varied from my menus, so no child begged to buy anything.  It was simply not done.  And to speed things up more, sometimes I would send the older children to find products I needed from different areas of the store.  Doing so also taught them early how to shop and find things they needed and kept them from getting bored.

In the later years, once all the children were over the age of six, I changed it up.   I would take one child per week shopping with me and afterwards we would go out for a burger and some quality one-on-one time.   That was a huge treat back then as going out to eat was not possible with a big family and a budget like ours.

Me:  I remember fun burgers from Burger King
Mom:  Yes.  Before happy meals it was just a “Fun burger” with a toy in it.

Me:  Anything else to add to the shopping topic?
Mom:  No but I should note that on weekends I would spend an entire afternoon cooking meals, some of which would be reheated during the week for dinner, especially if there were softball games to get to.  I’d also prep what I could for lunches for the week,  and of course, every night we ate at the table as a family.    No t.v.    No exceptions.
Me:  Yes.  I loved that.  I managed to do that with my girls right up until Steph moved out.

Me.  What else?  What other tips and tricks did you use?
Mom:  One of my favorites was the cardboard clocks.   We had them in the bedrooms so that we could show the little ones what time it had to be before they could come wake me up.  This was great on the weekend.  We would have a cardboard clock set to 6 a.m. on the side of the regular clock.  They would have to wait until the little hand was at least on the six.  It worked well.

Another was my emergency car kit.  I kept a kit in the trunk that had glass jars full of water, cans of fruit cocktail and other prepared foods, changes of clothes.  Anything I could think of that we might need if we ran late or got stranded anywhere.   That kit saved me thousands over the years in fast food we never had to buy.  On a tight budget, that was important.

Me:  What were your go to cleaning products?
Mom: Ajax powdered soap, with borax or baking soda for the laundry.  Bleach was only used to soak diapers.   Vinegar for rinsing in laundry.  Spic n Span once a week on the floors.  (Everyday floor wiping was just vinegar in water.)  And my one and only luxury was paper towels in bathroom.  With so many kids constantly washing and wiping dirty faces and hands, these saved my laundry pile.

Me:  Let’s talk about that bathroom.  What were the routines there?
Mom:  Well we already talked about the towels, and that’s half the battle.   It’s also important to note that we had only a bath tub, no shower until many years later.   So it was easier to just clean a tub than to scrub an entire tub surround regularly.   I simply did that every night after everyone’s bath was finished.  It took just a minute because I did it every day.   Toilet and sink were also cleaned every day.  And boys who “missed” were taught to clean up after themselves.    Of course, the floor was quick mopped daily and deep cleaned once a week with the rest.

We didn’t have carpet in the house.  I hate carpet. It’s dusty and dirty and leads to allergies.

Me:  Did you ever have any cleaning “fails”?
Mom:  Oh yes.  When I first married my husband from Ireland he brought with him a stack of the most beautiful Irish sweaters.   Wool.  I had no idea you could not dry wool in a dryer.  And I hadn’t much experience with clothes dryers at all as we almost always hung our clothes on a line.  Anyway, I had done a bunch of laundry at a laundry mat and dried all his beautiful sweaters and shrunk them to the size of doll clothes.  I cried for months.

 

Me:  Do you have any advice for current day house wives?
Mom:   When my children were growing up, our neighborhood was our support system.  Moms met up outside when hanging laundry.  We had coffee together during breaks.  Our children played together.   We held each other up, watched each other kids, and were generally there for each other.   I understand that things have changed and most moms these days have to get their support on social media.   It’s sad.   That’s not a great replacement for human interaction and it can easily lead to problems where mom stays on the computer instead of getting her work done or even worse, instead of spending time with her children.

My advice is to set time limits.  15 minutes break after one hour cleaning or playing.  Then back to real life.  Don’t get hung up in an on line community.  You will get lost in there for hours and not get anything done except increase stress and guilt.   Go out and find people.   Join clubs.  Join the Y.  Find real people to interact with.   And don’t let your kids get too entwined in that artificial world either.   Make sure they learn how to interact in person too.

 

Another thing I would suggest is limiting toys.  Kids have too many things and no reason to use their imagination anymore.   Those kids have to lead our country someday.   We need to make sure that they have developed thinking skills.  Rotate toys.  Put some away for a rainy day.

 

And, mom should save the hour after the kids are in bed for herself.   Read, take a bath, kick back, enjoy a show.   Enjoy it.  Don’t clean.  Sanity is important too.

Lastly, remember that there are no laws against child labor at home. :::laughs:::  I called it becoming self-sufficient.  Don’t be afraid to have the kids help.   You aren’t torturing them.  You are teaching them, and that’s part of your job as a parent.  You are enabling them to succeed by showing them community spirit, self-sufficiency, and the importance of routines, organization, and personal responsibility.

Me:  Thanks mom.   Love you.
Mom:  Love you too.  Now go clean your room.

 

 

June 7

Truly Inexpensive Eye Glass Replacement

OK.  I’m back from my little vacation.  I don’t know how often I will post, but I will post.  This first one is just kind of a light one; a review of Zenni Optical, an 0n-line eye glass fulfillment center.   I don’t know about where you live, but here a new pair of eyeglasses, especially bi-focal or progressive lense glasses, can cost upwards of $600.  That’s quite a hit to the pocket book when you have to replace a pair unexpectedly. And if you have kids, this can happen fairly often. Well, there is an option out there for truly inexpensive eye glass replacement.

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 9.46.40 AMYou find them at www.ZenniOptical.com and the process is simple.   You will need a copy of your eye glass lenses prescription.  Ask your Optometrist for one.  They have to give it to you.   It has to be less than two years old.  Once you have that, go create an account at Zenni.

Then upload a picture of your face looking straight at the camera, and start “trying on” glasses.

There are hundreds of options in every type of frame imaginable.  All frames that I saw were between $6.95-$45.95 with the majority of them falling right around $25-$29.

Once you have a frame you like, click forward to choose your options.  Add your lenses.13327452_10208320932874144_1657963244367896730_n  Mine are bifocal, so they cost $17.  I believe progressive lenses are $27.95.  Single vision might be $10. I didn’t check.   They automatically come with anti-scratch coating, a case, and a cleaning cloth, but you can add on tinting, anti-glare, etc.   I opted not to.  And then there is a small fee for shipping that doesn’t go up no matter how many frames you add.

My glasses, including frame, lenses, anti-scratch coating, case, cleaning cloth, and shipping cost me $41.

They came to me in about two weeks and fit perfectly.  I still swear that my prescription is even more clear than it was on my two $600 pairs.  I love them.  I rate my experience a 5 stars out of 5.

Check them out!  I think you’ll be delighted too.

(Note:  I was not paid to do this review.  I received no free merchandise.  This is a true experience.)

 

 

April 27

From Bored Housewife to Content Domestic Goddess

Good morning!

Every now and again I get requests for people to be able to submit guest posts, and I received one this week that sounded very familiar.  I discovered why.  It was a remake of this article that I’d done last year.  It’s not too bad, so I thought I’d share it again.   Enjoy!

From Bored Housewife to Tranquil Domestic Goddess in 3 Easy Steps

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April 11

2016 Spring Cleaning Checklist

Thank you all for the well wishes for my break from blogging.   I just adore you all!  I’ve gotten a bunch of requests for this, so I’m just popping on to reblog one from last year.  I hope it helps those who have been inquiring!

 

Ahhhhh spring. Finally! And with the arrival of the warm weather comes the itch to open windows and begin the annual spring cleaning. I must confess that I look forward to this time every year. There is nothing like a fresh new beginning, and once this thorough once-over of the house is done, everything will be like new again. So where to begin? And how to proceed? Here is a simple Spring Cleaning Checklist to follow to help you through.


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1. Begin by creating a project notebook. Start in the attic and proceed room by room all the way down through the basement and then proceed outside jotting down every single little task, repair, or spruce up that you believe is needed to be completed. It will be an extensive room-by-room list, and will likely feel a bit daunting, but it is necessary for three things. You must be able to plan your schedule. You must be able to have all needed supplies on hand. And you must be able to see in advance where you will need to recruit assistance. You don’t want to get part way into a project and find yourself in a pickle because you can’t do a step alone.

2. Once you have your project notebook completed, divide it into a manageable schedule. Keep in mind that your spring cleaning is not likely to be accomplished in a single weekend. You will likely need to spread it throughout a period of time depending on your other time commitments. Mark your cleaning goals on your calendar, and then plan to purchase (or make!) your needed supplies ahead of time.

I like to do a once through of de-cluttering of the entire house before I begin the deep cleaning. I then prefer to complete one whole room before moving on to the next. Some people like to group chores differently, such as washing all the windows on the same day. Whichever method works for you is fine. Just be sure to schedule it in so that you won’t be tempted to skip out into the fine weather before your cleaning chores are done!

Screen-Shot-2015-04-13-at-9.00.19-AM3. De-clutter. Begin in the attic. Give away, discard, donate, or sell anything that is no longer useful to you in some way. Then go room-by-room clearing out every drawer, closet, surface and corner and do the same. You will be surprised how much useless stuff has accumulated during the past few months. Finish with the basement and the garage. Typically I do one big yard sale with any items that are saleable. I use the yard sale money to fund my cleaning and spruce ups. (This year my kitchen needs painting, for example.)

4. Start at the top and work down. This means both the top floor of your home and also the top of every room.
For me, I will begin in the attic and then down to our bedrooms and two bathrooms that are on the second floor of the house. I’ll then work down the stairs, to the office, dining room, living room, laundry room, bathroom, and kitchen. Then finally the basement and garage. I estimate the full cleaning will take approximately 2-3 weeks. We should finish just in time to begin the spring yard work. 🙂


Here is a room-by-room guide:

spring cleaning checklist

First, check for critters that may have moved in during the winter. Birds, mice, and other pests will have to be exterminated.
Once you know you are safe from vermin, check for water leaks or other repairs that may be needed.

Then de-clutter. Throw away, donate, or sell any items you can bear to part with.

Organize whatever is left, keeping items grouped according to short-term or long-term storage needs. Seasonal items should be easily accessible. Long-term storage can be kept further back.


Bedrooms:

  • De-clutter both personal items and clothing. If you haven’t warn it in over a year (except for formal attire), get rid of it.
  • Clean drawers, boxes, and any other clutter spots you have acquired.
  • Dust and clean ceiling fans
  • Remove and clean window treatments. Most curtains and draperies can be machine washed. Check the labels.
  • Wash blinds with warm soapy water.
  • Remove window screens and wash with warm soapy water and a scrub brush. Rinse. Wash windows inside and out. Wash window frames.
  • Remove all wall art and clean.
  • Rotate mattresses, clean mattress covers and wash pillows to remove dust mites and molds. Remove and clean dust ruffles. Wipe down the entire headboard, footboard, and bed rails including the space between the box spring and rail where dander and dust tends to collect.
  • Dust and clean all furniture (upholstered furniture should be gently beaten to remove dust and wooden furniture should be waxed.)
  • Wash walls beginning at the top of the wall and working down.
  • Wipe down all woodwork and light switches.
  • Vacuum and wash carpets. Vacuum and wash bare floors.
  • For children’s rooms, wash all toys according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Change batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Replace clean window treatments, re-hang wall art, and replace bedding with seasonally appropriate bedding.
  • Clean the door and polish door knob and metal fasteners

Bathrooms:

  • Clean out the medicine cabinet. Discard expired medications and cosmetics.
  • Update your emergency first-aid kit. Especially if you have children, be sure to have Ipecac syrup and other emergency medications on hand. As always, store all medications well out of reach of children.
  • Clean out the linen closet. Discard (or tear into rags) stained and worn linens.50shousewife spring cleaning
  • Clean out drawers, doors, and storage areas. Throw away anything that you have un-necessary duplicates of. (Why do we have 14 hair brushes?)
  • Dust and clean ceiling fans and all lighting fixtures
  • Remove and clean window treatments. Most curtains and draperies can be machine washed. Check the labels. Wash blinds with warm soapy water.
  • Remove window screens and wash with warm soapy water and a scrub brush. Rinse. Wash windows inside and out. Wash window frames.
  • Remove all wall art and clean.
  • Remove shower curtain liner and either wash or replace.
  • Throw away and replace toothbrushes (we do this quarterly)
  • Clean out the screens on hair dryers and other appliances
  • Remove and clean screens on faucets
  • Wash walls from top down to floor. Wash woodwork and light switches.
  • Clean and sanitize bathtub, toilet, and sinks, scales, and other equipment
  • Machine wash bath mats, throw carpets, toilet seat covers
  • Scrub cabinetry and doors and polish metal fasteners and handles
  • Wash and wax floors (where appropriate)
  • Reseal grout where necessary
  • Replace window treatments, wall art, shower curtains, and other decorative items after they’ve been cleaned.

 


Stair ways

  • Remove wall art and clean
  • Wash walls from top down to floor
  • Wash hand rails (and check that they are still securely fastened. Repair where necessary)
  • Wash spindles
  • Wash all wood work, doors, knobs, and light switches
  • Vacuum halls and stairs
  • Wash carpeting
  • Re-hang wall art
  • Change smoke detector and carbon monoxide batteries.

 

Office

  • De-clutter personal items, papers, books, receipts. File prior year paperwork and store in attic or basement.
  • Check that current insurance policies are easily accessible in a fire-safe place.
  • Dust and clean ceiling fans
  • Remove and clean window treatments. Most curtains and draperies can be machine washed. Check the labels. Wash blinds with warm soapy water.
  • Remove window screens and wash with warm soapy water and a scrub brush. Rinse. Wash windows inside and out. Wash window frames.
  • Remove all wall art and clean.
  • Wash walls from top down to floor.
  • Clean all woodwork, doors, knobs, and light switches/switch plates.
  • Remove all books and items from shelves. Clean shelves, dust books, wipe down leather book spines with a soft cloth.
  • Clean computer and keyboard according to manufacturers instructions
  • Clean and polish all furniture
  • Vacuum
  • Wash carpet and/or floors
  • Replace all window treatments, art, and other decorative items once clean.

Living Room/ Dining Room/ Den

  • De-clutter. Clean drawers, boxes, and any other clutter spots you have acquired.
  • Dust and clean ceiling fans
  • Remove and clean window treatments. Most curtains and draperies can be machine washed. Check the labels. Wash blinds with warm soapy water.
  • Remove window screens and wash with warm soapy water and a scrub brush. Rinse. Wash windows inside and out. Wash window frames.
  • Remove all wall art and clean.
  • Wash walls from top to bottom
  • Clean all woodwork
  • Remove all books, CDs, videos and other items from shelves. Clean shelves, clean decorative items, dust books, CDs and videos, wipe down leather book spines with a soft cloth.
  • Clean computer and keyboard according to manufacturers instructions
  • Clean and polish all furniture (upholstered furniture should be gently beaten and vacuumed to remove dust).
  • Vacuum
  • Wash carpet and/or floors
  • Wash doors and polish knobs and metal fasteners
  • Replace all window treatments, art, and other decorative items once clean.

Kitchen

  • Screen-Shot-2015-04-13-at-8.59.45-AM-218x300De-clutter. Clean drawers, boxes, and any other clutter spots you have acquired. Throw away duplicates. Why do you have 3 whisks? And how many measuring spoons does one kitchen need? Where did all those plastic cups come from? Get rid of them.
  • Dust and clean lighting fixtures. Use a good degreaser if necessary.
  • Remove and clean window treatments. Most curtains and draperies can be machine washed. Check the labels. Wash blinds with warm soapy water.
  • Remove window screens and wash with warm soapy water and a scrub brush. Rinse. Wash windows inside and out. Wash window frames.
  • Remove all wall art and clean.
  • Clean out the refrigerator and throughly clean inside/outside and vacuum coils.
  • Defrost the freezer.
  • Sort through food storage. Discard expired items.
  • Sort through spices. Clean shaker tops.
  • Clean out all cupboards, wipe down inside and out
  • Organize storage containers, lids, pans, and baking sheets. Throw away mystery lids
  • Clean stove and oven
  • Clean stove vent and change filters.
  • Clean microwave
  • Clean toaster, coffee maker, can opener, and all small appliances
  • Clean and treat cutting boards
  • Wash walls from top to bottom
  • Clean all woodwork and cabinetry
  • Clean around knobs and polish knobs
  • Clean countertops. Seal granite, if necessary.
  • Scrub furniture and wax, if necessary
  • Clean doors, knobs, light switches.
  • Vacuum and wash floors
  • Change batteries in smoke detector and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Check fire extinguisher and replace if necessary

 

Basement

  • De-clutter
  • Check for infestations of insects, mice, or other intruders.
  • Check for evidence of water infiltration.
  • Lift items off of the floor to protect from flooding
  • Change smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector batteries.
  • Check for cracks in foundation and floor.
  • Check radon systems
  • Check water filtration systems
  • Schedule cleaning of furnace
  • Dust and vacuum
April 1

Until We Meet Again

UPDATE:  We’re rested and we’re back.  I’m leaving this post up simply because so many commented on it.  Here’s what it said back then:

I have a job.

It’s this blog.

I never intended for it to become a job.  In the beginning it was a pleasant hobby.  My mission.  My contribution to the world.  Something I did in my free time.   Something that contributed to, didn’t detract from, my home life.  It kept me focused on who I wanted to be.  It kept me on top of my house work. It kept me focused on my family.  It really helped me stay on track.

As happens with blogs, however, over time you start to realize that you need to organize yourself better if you are to keep it going.   You have to plan posts and actually write them on schedule.  Which means researching and gathering on your non-writing days and being very committed to a time schedule.   It means answering comments and emails every day as they come in.  It means promoting your blog so that you can reach more of the world (which was the goal, right?).  It means reading and commenting on other people’s blogs for hours on end (part of promotions).  It means maintaining Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest pages for the blog.  It means so. much. work.

It means that if you are going to spend 20-30-or 40+ hours a week working on it, and paying hundreds of dollars a year to keep it going, then you’d best monetize it.  Well… monetizing is tons more work, and it makes me feel guilty, and it brings with it lots of criticism.  And it doesn’t make nearly what you’d think it does.  I’m talking less than a dollar an hour invested per month.

My point is that I have a job again.  Except for all the emotional pay offs, this job eats up my time but does not contribute to my family anymore.

Mr. C and I talk about this all the time.   Especially at those times when I’m having peri-menopause emotional upheaval.  If you’ve been a regular reader, you have seen my contributions peak and level off repeatedly in the past 6 months.   It’s just too much sometimes.   This is one of those times.

My kids are all grown.  My youngest grandchild starts school in the Fall.   My time is less needed at home so I’m feeling the need to go out into the world and do something out there.  I’m not sure what, but something.  Something that takes all my concentration while I’m there, but that I can leave behind when it’s time to go home.  Something that leaves my brain free to rest at night.

So I’m taking a break from blogging.  I don’t know when I’ll be back.  The blog is paid until Summer.  I’ll reevaluate sometime between now and then.   We’ll see how it goes.

Love you all, but it’s time to take care of me for a bit.   I hear this is a common revelation during the Change of life.  I’m kind of liking it.   –Until we meet again…

April 1

Cleaning Checklist for April 3 – April 9

Good morning!  I simply can’t believe it’s already April.  Can you?  My spring time scramble has begun.   Getting ready to do a spring cleaning week next week, starting to prep my gardens, cleaning up the patio furniture, switching out the clothes.  So much to do!  No worries.  It will all get done.  Here’s a list to help you through it.

Click to enlarge or use the PDF version below.
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PDF Version:  April 3- April 9

March 31

2 Things You Need To Know About Peri-menopause That May Save Your Life.

Two- the number of the day.  Two posts coming today.  The first is the 2 things you need to know about peri-menopause that may save your life.

I’m writing this today because this happens to be one of the days where I’m experiencing both and every time this happens I say “I really should warn them… ”

So here I am.  Warning you.

There are lots of things about menopause and peri-menopause that you read about in books, magazines, blogs, and articles.  But two of the most life-threatening are seldom mentioned:

(1) Crazy, over-the-top anxiety/ panic attacks.  Often with full-blown heart gripping pressure and palpitations.  And

(2) Short, intense bouts of suicidal-level depression

Thankfully, for me, neither of these are long-lasting effects.  They come from out of the blue, last for a day or two, then go away until their next uninvited visit.  But while they are here, they shut down my life.   I can scarcely function at all.

But here’s the thing.   Doctors who do admit to anxiety and depression during “the change” like to say that women who were prone to anxiety and depression before menopause will likely be the ones to experience these attacks during the menopausal transition.  Not true.

I have always been the happiest person I’ve ever met.

Maybe nobody knows what it is or where it comes from or why, but they need to stop implying that it’s a personality quirk or female drama episodes or all in our heads.  It’s real.  It’s dangerous.  And it can happen to any of us, or all of us.  And sweeping it under the carpet isn’t helping.  We need to be warned so we can be ready.

For me, today is an anxiety day.   I can almost (sort of) deal with these now.  I’ve learned that when the chest tightness sets in and the worrying begins, and my brain screams to shut down, I need to meditate. and that helps me calm my body.   Some days, like today, I have to stop literally every ten or fifteen minutes to do some deep breathing and meditation.   It’s annoying, but I get through it.   It’ll be almost the only thing I do all day.  For me, journaling and blogging often helps too.  I can type through my worries.   It’s taken me almost a year to figure out how to work through these anxious days, but I’m finally doing it.

It’s the depression days that scare me most.

Again, happy person.  Me.  Chronically.  I have the most amazing life.  I have great dreams and lots of adventures.  But when those intense depression days hit, something very strange happens.   Out of nowhere comes thoughts that seem to be coaxing me to leave this world.     “All this could be over forever.  No more worries.”  or “Imagine just going to sleep and not waking up into this world.  Wouldn’t that be nice?”  or my favorite “We could do it together–Mr. C and me.”

Crazy right?  yeah.  It’s that kind of crazy.  And it’s so real, and it makes so much sense at the time.   I find myself starting to agree and think it’s a good idea.   Often times I find myself thinking of arguments to tell Mr. C to try to convince him to do it with me.  Once or twice, many month ago, I found myself debating how to do it and making preparations.   That’s the day I picked up the phone and called Mr. C and told him what my brain was doing.  Needless to say, he was alarmed.  He came home.

We talked.  A lot.  And by talking through it, I realized that this had been happening every 4-5 weeks for a while.  I’d suddenly wake up profoundly depressed one day, fight the urge to do something stupid and permanent all day, go to bed, and wake up feeling like my normal happy self the next day or at the very most two days later.  It must be hormonal, we reasoned. (I have since begun marking them on the calendar and discovered they are absolutely cyclic.)  So… we agreed then that whenever I wake up feeling like that I am to tell him immediately.  And I am to then pack up and go visit or go to the bookstore or shopping for the day.   No staying home alone.  All I need to do is get through the crazy hormonal day, so I am to find pleasant distractions and stay WITH people, even if they are people I don’t know.

So far, obviously, it’s worked.  But that’s because I know what’s going on and I have a support system and a plan in place.   How many women don’t have those two things?  How many women experience intense hormone-induced depression and never tell anyone?  How many act upon it like this woman did?  Why isn’t this a better known issue?

I think that every time a woman goes for a mammogram, this discussion should be happening with the tech.  Or at the very least, some literature on the subject should be stuffed in her hands, or displayed on the wall in the waiting room.   However they do it, every woman needs to hear that these things may happen and she is NOT crazy.  She is normal.  It is part of the change, and she just needs to kick into gear with the plan she should have in place BEFORE those days ever come.

So there.  That’s it.  I had to warn you.  So this doesn’t happen to you unexpectedly.   And you need to warn your daughters when they get old enough to understand what you are talking about.   We need to spread the word.   Tell them.

Tell them it’s temporary.  It’s not real depression.  They don’t really want to hurt themselves or leave this world.   Tell them.  Don’t do it.  Call a friend.  Visit.  Swim.  Read.  Do anything, but don’t stay home alone!

Okay.  I feel better.   God bless, and take care, Ladies.  We’ve got this.