Thursday, May 16, 2013

The American Kitchen

This is a good read if you're interested in anything you could possibly want to know about the American kitchen from Colonial times up to the present day.

Here is some household wisdom from days past. "Never oblige your servants to tell a falsehood for you, and they will not be so likely to tell a falsehood to you." Godey's Lady's Book, August 1867.

HABITS OF SYSTEM AND devoted to preparing for the labors of the week. Any extra cooking, the purchasing of articles to be used during the week, the assorting of clothes for the wash, and mending...these and similar items belong to this day. Tuesday is devoted to washing, and Wednesday to ironing. On Thursday, the ironing is finished off, the clothes folded and put away, and all articles which need mending are put in the mending basket, and attended to. Friday is devoted to sweeping and house-cleaning. On Saturday, and especially the last Saturday of every month, every department is put in order, the casters and table furniture are regulated, the pantry and cellar inspected, the trunks, drawers, and closets arranged, and everything about the house put in order for Sunday. By this regular recurrence of a particular time for inspecting everything, nothing is forgotten till ruined by neglect. American Woman's Home-Catherine E. Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1869

MAKING OF CLOTHING-With the present facilities for sewing, it is practicable for every housekeeper to cut out and make up all the articles worn by the different members of her family, with the exception, perhaps, of dress-coats and overcoats. The saving which she will thus make will more than pay the wages of a domestic, who will perform all the drudgery of a household such as washing, cleaning, ironing, sweeping, etc. The Philosophy of Housekeeping-Joseph & Laura Lyman, 1869

I am by nature an organizer. I like for things to be in place and for each day to be planned to within an inch of its allotted hours. BUT...I am a lover of spontaneity. I love a routine, and I love to throw it all out the window if something better comes along. I have noticed that our house is in its best-running order when I stay home all day and attend to 'things'. And I like doing that for a time. After that, I need something new. Yesterday that happened to be a trip to Wal-Mart. I'm pretty easy to please.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Cure For Boredom

"For those of the current generation the normal reflex when bored is to watch a video or surf the Web. What can we do to help our young people accept the short-term pain of learning creative life skills in order to avoid the long-term pain of chronic subconscious boredom? What can we do to teach them that an addiction to electronic entertainment will shrivel their souls? Many of the short-term solutions to boredom undoubtedly give pleasure. But these are unsustainable and provide only a counterfeit of life and ultimately lead to spiritual emptiness." (p. 124)

Unfortunately,I can't remember where this quote came from. Of the nine books I've read in April, it has to be either What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty or Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler. I'm thinking it must be the Jane Austen one for it made many contrasts between the 19th century and our present time. They're both worth reading. I'll be reviewing Rigler's book here soon.

I think the solution has to be the parents. The most important thing that we can do is to not be addicted to "counterfeit life" ourselves. Our children are going to emulate us. If they see us always connected to a portable device, then that's what they'll want, too. We need to be parents and people who are interested in real life.

My parents and grandparents took me along with them when they did their shopping, visiting, and chores. I learned how to be an adult alongside them. They took an interest in the world and so did I. If I wanted to learn something new which they weren't interested in, they made sure I had lessons. I was in 4-H club where I learned all sorts of things. I read voraciously and was outside most of the day when I wasn't in school or doing chores. The great outdoors is a great teacher! And because of my upbringing, I'm never bored today. In fact, one lifetime isn't enough time to do all the things I'd like to try and accomplish.

I believe many children today have too much leisure time. If they're keep busy and engaged doing chores or being with adults as they work, then when they do have free time, they'll treasure it. Games, books, and toys should be provided for the children to use as well as large quantities of unscheduled time outside. This is when their imaginations are expanded the most and they learn to appreciate nature.

Anyone have any thoughts on how you keep your kids from being bored? Are you bored yourself? Is electronic device addiction something with which you or your children struggle?