Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
While I was doing all of that necessary "work," I did happen to make an Apple Crisp with the help of my lovely daughter.
She does love her apples!
Apple Crisp is such an easy thing to make, and it tastes sooooo good, especially during beautiful, fall weather! Take any type of apple (I used Galas and Granny Smith to have some sweet and a little sour) and add Cinnamon and a little flour (so there will not be just juice from the apples but rather a thicker sauce). Mix up some oats, brown sugar, and a little more Cinnamon. Cut in Smart Balance Light (or butter if you can eat it) to make a nice topping for the apples. To make it really good, put some small bits of butter on top of the apples before putting on the topping. Top the apples with the oat mix and bake. So simple and soooooo good!!!!
Women today, just like in the pioneer days, loved having some things be simple and easy. There never is quite enough of the "easy stuff" when it comes to running a household. Little special treats like Apple Crisp every now and then spice up life and hopefully bring family closer together.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Homemade dinners are fun to make, especially when they are appreciated. It is a rare thing that families sit down together and eat a homemade meal anymore. Most of the time, members of families grab something processed to eat as they are rushing out the door (or they skip meals altogether). Families in the 19th century ate almost all of their meals together as a family, and they were definitely homemade! They didn't have all of the "convenience" in meal prep that we have available today. They made everything from scratch, and I am sure it was soooooo good!!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Actually, they have been pretty good about getting rid of things. In fact, each of them had more bags to give to Goodwill than I thought I could get out of them. So, today we loaded all of the stuff for Goodwill into my van (which was packed to the max!), and my sister dropped it off on her way to the school. It was a beautiful, sunny day today for us to be outside accomplishing a good thing. There is now a small corner of the garage that we can move around in as we go through the rest of the garage and purge some more!
When I get on a purging kick, I sometimes carry that over into rearranging. My excuse is that I need to move furniture around to be sure that I am not missing something that could be thrown away or given away. In all honesty, I just like moving furniture. So that is what I did, as well. The new layout has proven to be a success. My family has commented on how much they like it. We are hopefully soon going to get a new couch since ours is very old and falling apart. Then I get to rearrange again! Yay!!
Now how does all of my ramblings about purging and rearranging furniture relate to the 19th century? Well, given that houses were a lot smaller than most of ours today, families during that time did not have much space to just store things they did not use regularly. As children outgrew things, they were either passed down to the next child or remade into something that could be used. If that wasn't the case, then once something couldn't be used anymore, it was gotten rid of. Another good point to make here is that children did not have all of the toys and things that children of today have. They had much fewer belongings. Again, the space issue and not a lot of money for "extra" things.
The mentality was also different during that era. Material things were not as important. The family had what it needed and maybe a little extra, but it was not consumed with stuff. As the mother of the house, she was constantly trying to keep things in their place or get rid of them so they had room to eat, sleep, learn, and spend time together. There probably wasn't much rearranging of furniture, given that they didn't have a lot of pieces nor a lot of space in their small houses. However, I bet women sometimes got an urge to just change things up a bit for variety's sake like I do. It might be in our nature. Well... at least I think so!
You know what they say - "variety is the spice of life!"
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
You can see the old line where the bottom crease used to be, and hopefully, you can see where I made a new crease a quarter inch above the serging. Needless to say, my ironing for the day consisted of two pant leg hems.
Here's a couple of tips on how to iron certain fabrics.
1. When ironing wool, use a thin piece of cotton fabric to lay over the wool, then spray with water to make steam. Never iron directly on wool! It will turn shiny.
2. When lengthening pants or skirts and trying to get the old crease out, make sure your iron has water in it so you can create a good amount of steam. Depending on the type of fabric (i.e. cotton, wool, or synthetic) and how long the item has been washed, ironed, and worn at that length, the crease (or line) may not completely iron out. Steam is one of the best things to try.
3. With synthetic fabric, remember not to have the heat turned up too high. The fabrics will melt!
And last but not least, here is a simple homemade starch recipe that also makes your clothes smell nice, too.
Lavender Linen Starch
Dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 1 pint cold water. Add 6 drops of lavender essential oil (or whatever your favorite scent is). Place in a spray bottle and shake before using.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
I actually had a short break from being a mom this evening, which I'm sure didn't happen much for 19th century women. My mom wanted to take Brenna to church tonight with her, even though I was not really up to going. So, while they were gone for an hour and a half, I was able to relax and drink a cup of coffee without having to keep my precious little girl from trying to drink it or burn herself trying. Once everyone was home, we decided to do something spontaneous and fun. That translated into playing Apples to Apples. Everyone played, and it was great! It made me think of families back in the day that spent most every Sunday together as a family. I can see it now. Father reading by the fireplace, Mother handsewing in her rocking chair, and the children playing on the floor with their toys.
Well, playing a game on the living room floor is the closest my family can get to that picture right now, and I'm ok with that. We had a wonderful time together, and I'm sure we will try to do it again now that we remember what fun it is to take the time to play games together.
If you haven't tried doing something together as a family in awhile, even if it watching a good, old movie or playing a game as we did, try it!! You will love it!
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Below is a simple bread recipe that I have used before. It's one of my favorites!
Easy Wheat Bread (or rolls) - by Helen Farver
5 1/2 cups very warm water
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon salt
7 cups freshly milled whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons dry yeast
3-5 more cups whole wheat flour
Combine water, oil, honey, and salt in a bowl. Mix while adding the 7 cups of wheat flour and yeast. Continue mixing and add 3-5 more cups flour until dough pulls away from sides and forms a ball. Knead for 8 minutes. Grease 4 loaf pans - turn oven on to 150 degrees. Divide into four loaves. Let them rise in the oven (with it on) for 25 minutes. Leave the bread in the oven and turn temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes - cool.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Every household almost always has baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice. These are the basics. So simple! You can always make something a little more elaborate or that has a fragrance, and I will share with you a couple easy recipes for everyday cleaning supplies that can be added to.
1. All purpose cleaner - for two cups of water add a few drops of natural soap (liquid castile soap is a good, safe one). If you want to add a fragrance, add 15-30 drops of your favorite essential oil, such as lavender or tea tree. Put mixture in a spray bottle, and you can clean just about anything.
2. Clogged sink or drain - pour one cup white vinegar and one cup baking soda into the drain/sink, and let it sit for a few minutes. Then pour a tea kettle full of boiling water down to flush it through.
3. Window and glass cleaner - mix half a cup of vinegar to a gallon of water.
4. Toilet bowl cleaner - sprinkle baking soda and lemon juice in the bowl and let it sit. Then use your scrub brush on it.
5. Dusting spray (or furniture polish) - mix a half cup of lemon juice with one cup of olive oil. Wipe down furniture using a soft rag and mixture. Smells better than the store bought!
Hope these are helpful to you! I am keeping an eye out for more interesting and easy ways to clean and disinfect our homes without using chemicals.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
1. Bring the broth, onion, garlic, carrot, mushrooms and ginger to a slow boil.
2. Reduce the heat and simmer on low, covered, for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
3. Remove from heat; add the lemon juice and parsley. Cover and steep for 5 minutes. Serve with crusty bread.
Serve drizzled with a bit of olive oil and a generous dusting of cheese.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
While taking care of them all, I have been thinking about what people did before medicine and vaccinations and central heating. We have access to a lot more now like Ibuprofen, cold medicine, cough drops, and yes, flu vaccines. But what did the pioneers do to help them when they were sick? Rest was probably the number one thing. (We need more of that today. We are just too busy these days!!) Hot beverages, such as a Hot Toddy, were used as well. Of course, each family had their own version and name for this beverage. It's soothing to the throat and helps you relax enough to get some sleep.
Here is a simple Hot Toddy recipe you can make. Try hot tea with lemon juice, honey, and some Bourbon. If you want to spice it up, add some cinnamon or clove. It is bound to relax you even if you are not sick!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Feeling the way I did today, I can't imagine what pioneers went through with the wind blowing through the cracks of their log homes and the only heat source coming from a fireplace. It sounds fun to us today, but as cold as I have been, I don't think I would like living that way day in and day out. Looking out my front door, I took some pictures of what it looks like on a blustery fall day. Perhaps the pioneers had a view similar to this.
Regardless of how it looks today versus 200 years ago, it is still pretty and still cold! Time to get out the wool yarn to knit some scarves or get out fabric pieces to make a quilt. It's what was done back then and is still enjoyed today.
Off to go through fabric and yarn!
Friday, October 23, 2009
Some of my favorite things to can are green beans from my grandmother's garden, applesauce, tomatoes, preserves, spaghetti sauce, and peaches. My family also enjoys drying fruits, such as apples and peaches. I love the fact that everything I can/dry is organic and healthier than if I bought a processed version from the store. I know exactly what is in it!
These simple ways of life allow us to enjoy the yummy goodness of the summer gardens and orchards throughout the cold winter months.
Here is a link for Canning Basics for Preserving Food:
Time is of the essence!! It's almost winter!