Oh Sing, Sisters!

There’s not enough singing in this world–of that I’m convinced. I don’t mean singing on the radio, in school or churches. I mean in the family.

Before our family grew up and married we were always singing. On Saturdays one sister and I might be upstairs making beds and dusting, another sister might be in the living room washing floors and Mother might be in the kitchen baking, but we were all singing, and, if working close enough together, we sang “parts” to make harmony.

Sunday was the only day Dad had much time to spend with us. We never left the Sunday table–dinner or supper–without him getting someone to play the piano and the rest of us to sing. Now that I’m married and away from home, I miss those good times. Some of the happiest memories of my dad and mother are of the times when they both joined us and our friends around the piano.

If there were more singing in family life, there would be fewer arguments and more joy. When your feelings are hurt, sing, and you will soon be happier. It is simple but it works.

From Minnesota, 1936

My DIY Kitchen Cabinet Curtain

I visited an elderly German lady last summer and was impressed by the simplicity of her little home. It reminded me of European kitchens that I’ve visited, very practical and not at all modern. I especially liked the beautiful linens that she clipped up across the kitchen windows and draped over some open kitchen cupboards.

I recently remembered this as I looked at the microwave cart in my kitchen. While I don’t use it for a microwave, it holds many of my small appliances.  At its worst it’s a jumbled, tacky mess and even at its best, it tends to look cluttered. I thought I would try to cover the shelf to give the kitchen a cleaner look. I could easily have found a piece of fabric and clipped it up somehow, but knowing me, it would have looked a little rakish. And since rakish is sort of a default look of mine, I decided that I would have to dress it up somehow in a more formal way.

 

Although I have a chest of drawers filled with fabric, my immediate reaction was to plan an excursion to the fabric store.  But in the spirit of frugality, I decided to challenge myself to use fabric I already had. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything that I thought would work.

Then I remembered a stack of pillowcases a lady gave me several months ago.  She had cleaned out her linen closet of all the single pillowcases and offered them to me, knowing I appreciate vintage linens.  They were all white, some with crocheted lace edging and some with hand sewn embroidery.  I chose one and trimmed off the seams, stitched a hem on either side, and made a casing across the top.

 

Ta-da!  A new curtain for the price of some thread, a cheap tension rod, and very little time.

I was so pleased with it that I used another pillowcase to make a little valance to dress up my back door.

Not only did I get a few curtains that brightened up my house, but they were basically free, and I made use of a couple of items that weren’t being used otherwise.  It makes me feel like an efficient housewife! 

Since then, I’ve decided to retire the pillowcase motif before the house begins to look suspiciously like a tribute to bedroom linens.

Using What We Have on Hand

…we women should seek first the kingdom of righteousness in making ourselves efficient users of those things around us, things we can be bountifully supplied with at all times, before we aspire to become users of articles that come from distant parts and are not always easy to get.  -1905

Healthy food blogs nowadays have become a little wearisome.  The recipe looks delicious,  but wading through the ingredient list is complicated–

  • lard (home-rendered from grass-fed organic heritage pork fat)
  • milk (raw, organic, A-2 spring milk, preferably)
  • mayonnaise (homemade from organic avocado oil and organic brown eggs)
  • honey (raw, local) and my favorite,
  • pastured eggs (because eggs like to roll in the grass under open skies as much as anyone else!)

Anything less than the finest quality ingredients will result in irritable bowels, a leaky gut, gout, and cancer (or worse!), so we’re told.

Of course we want to provide our families the best of everything.  But sometimes, the best is cost-prohibitive, out of season, or simply not easily available to us.  If we could afford it, I don’t think any of us would decline a juicy, garden-grown tomato for one of those dry, tasteless ones shipped from parts unknown in the winter.   It’s not as if we intentionally bypassed all the cheap, raw, grass-fed milk available at every convenience store in town and drove to the next county to buy a farmer’s expensive pasteurized, homogenized, antibiotic-laden skim milk.  Only in recent history have we had access to food sourced from all over the world.

We women often feel pressured to supply our families with the very best quality ingredients at any cost.  To those of us struggling to maintain grocery budgets, health experts advise, “What you don’t spend in quality food now, you’ll spend in medical bills later!”  How discouraging is that?  I hardly think that a cause of death has ever been attributed to “consumption of imitation vanilla” or “a chia seed deficiency.”  Stress causes health problems, and maybe the pressure to eat perfectly increases stress?

No one can guarantee a formula for perfect health.  In ancient times, absolutely everyone ate organic, free-range, non-GM food, but Jesus had no end of people that needed healing and Hippocrates had enough business that he became the “father of medicine.”

Take heart, housewives.  We’re all doing the best that we can in our own way.  Don’t feel guilty or be made to feel that you love your family less because you don’t have the resources someone else does.  The American pioneer women didn’t have cassava flour, quinoa, avocado oil, or even name-brand essential oils tucked into their covered wagons, but they managed to muddle through life fairly well.  They made the most of the limited variety available to them.  It must have been adequate, because thanks to them, many of us are here now.

It’s very simple, really.  Learn the basic principles of cooking and eating healthily and be content with doing your best.