Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Learning the art of Homemaking...

"Housekeeping is an art; Such knowledge is drawn from practical experience, family traditions, the natural and social sciences, and many other stores of understanding and information."
A quote from "Home Comforts: The art & science of keeping house" by Cheryl Mendelson
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What I love about being a Stay-at-home daughter is that it's continual learning. I have this opportunity to learn from my Mother the art of Homemaking. She imparts to me tips on housework...how to go the extra step to make the job excellent--not just do the minimum or what's required.

I was recently talking to a young mother who has 3 children, and asked her advice on preparation as I wait on the Lord. She encouraged me to make the most of my time now, and serve my family/sacrifice & yeild my wants for the wants of others-- as this will be very helpful when (if it's the Lords will) I'm a wife/mother someday. I really appreciate talks like this, because if this is what I aspire to be, I want to learn all that I can now. (While I still have "free time" to grow in the Lord in my fathers household)

A part of this training is Meal Planning. My Mother has been an excellent guide in this, as she directs me in getting the most Nutritional value out of meals as well.

Today my Mother and I sat outside with our cups of tea (Apple spice!), Notebooks, cookbooks and ideas to discuss our upcoming weekly menu's for the season. The goal is to plan our meals ahead, to avoid impulse meal planning (walk into the kitchen wondering what's for dinner). To do this frugally while eating fruits/vegetables that are Seasonal.
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I put together an Inventory of Vegetables/Dairy/Meat/Fruit/Pasta/Dry Goods so we could see on paper what we have!
As we purchased food, we bought in "bulk" so that we could divide ingredients into different meals. For example, I shopped the sales and bought an 8lb roast for $8.00. I cooked it slow for 6 hours, then divided it up into 4 pieces. I used it in 4 different meals, and so it ended up costing only $2 per meal for my family!

A few Cookbooks we use:

"The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook" by Cathe Olson & "More with Less Cookbook": (suggestions by Mennonites on how to eat better and consume less of the world's limited food resources) by Doris Longacre
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Hospitality

No matter how elaborate or frugal, challenging or easy--Meals are one of the most necessary parts of "Everyday". Lately I've been making desserts (pound cake, cookies, brownies) in the morning--I individually wrap each piece, and put it away. We recently had un-expected guests visit at the cottage, and it was a delight to offer a meal and have dessert and coffee available at a moments notice. I'm hoping to also do extra freezer meals for this reason as well!

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As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Galations 6:10

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A lovely day trip...


Today our family took a day trip!
We planned to meet a few re-enactors (to participate with in upcoming events) at a Living history museum, attend local festivities and of course tour the historic small towns!
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19th Century Village

The Courthouse

Our guide for the beginning of the tour...We went through a shoemakers shop and wood-working shop as well.

Inside an 1840's bedroom..I love the simple interior

In the sewing room, a woman and her daughter were demonstrating the weaving process and even the finish product! Afterward, we also toured servants quarters, the Cotton mill and the bale press.

A true cotton blossom

Our next tour guide was very informative! She showed us a few homes, the General store, a handmade pottery kiln and school-house.

Flowers in the kitchen garden...

Lovely walls

Autumn hydrangeas

I was able to meet and chat with the other re-enactors, and enjoyed touring the town with my family. It's a much better experience to be in 19th century attire. I must say, the corset & multiple petticoats definitely made me "feel the part" as the weather inched above 95 degrees. Although cotton "breathes" (heh..that's debatable) its quite hot and bothersome when you're wearing three layers of it!

Autumn reflections...

A few leaves had fallen into the antique wash buckets outside
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Small town Fair

Throughout GA, many small towns are centered around the local railroad station. The first "rails" were built in Georgia in the 1830's. Through successes and trials, more tracks were constructed and continued into the strong, 5000 mile network we know today! (Just a little history!)

Many people from the town gathered for the festivities, as there was music, craft and food vendors, and of course, nearby shoppes! I wore my 19th century dress though, because I didn't like the fact of feeling like I had to change (which includes)
1. Grab a "change of clothes"{a.k.a super wrinkled top and skirt}
2. Run across the lot to a restroom
3. Remove about 30 lbs (lol exaggeration!) of 19th century attire
4. Run back across the parking lot to put clothes into car
5. Try to catch up with my family as I run across the street with wrinkled clothes and flyaway hair
Why. Simply because of caring what others think!?
So as I'm sure you, dear reader, see my reasoning..I decided to keep on my dress and leisurely enjoy the small town. I received interesting reactions, to put it simply!
I want to encourage you to develop convictions & wear what you love, even if it goes against what other's consider "normal". This used to be a stronghold for me, as it's easier to go with the grain than against it. Oh, I have so much I'd like to share on this subject, but I'll leave it for another time :)
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Mother browsing through the antiques...

We had a full day, and it's nice to reflect on todays adventures

from the comforts of...Home.

'Ponder the path of your feet,

And let all your ways be established.' Proverbs 4:26


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

*~Welcome Autumn*~



The lifestyle Tasha Tudor led was an inspiration. As the mornings grow cool and the leaves begin to turn brilliant colors...I think of her delightful books and find a quiet corner to read and enjoy hot tea. She's inspired me to trade jackets for shawls, lamps for candles, and makes living electricity-free look delightful.
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What scents say "Autumn" to you?
I think of pumpkin, apple pie, wood-smoke, chai tea, and orange. Share with me your favorites!
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We recently visited with blogger friends who traveled from MN! As a gift, we were given Maple Syrup(from a company in MN) and also Wild Rice! The syrup is *delicious* and both are perfect to celebrate Autumn!


It amazes me how dying leaves are so beautiful and interesting.
I love how artistic our Creator is!
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Peppers...
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Autumn brings the village of mystical Mushrooms...


This morning I was enjoying the dew-laden grass and truly wild flowers! lol


Yellows and Creams..


It's interesting--I saw the colors(the paint splotches, bright yellow, textures) before realising...I'm looking at a flowering weed in front of abandoned paint cans! I had walked to the very edge of our property(we're still cleaning the mess from the previous home owner) and came across these paint cans and couldn't resist capturing the beauty in the midst of imperfection.

From a dear reader...

"Beautiful pictures! :) I have a 'strange' request... can you take a close picture of cotton blossoms and a plant with cotton on it for me to see? I have never seen either... :P"
*Ms. Clara Van Nattan

A withering cotton blossom... After flowering (in beautful shades of pink and cream) the plant directs the nutrients to the developing Boll, so the flower eventually ceases.


About 50 days after pollination, the Boll starts to open up to expose the Cotton fiber.

The enlargement phase of the Boll lasts approximately 3 weeks


As the capsule walls of the Boll dry, it causes the cells to shrink unevenly. This shrinking causes it to split, then open, to expose the cotton fiber!

The cotton is generally planted 3 plants per foot(per row). And the rows...well, they go on for dozens of acres!



The growth stage takes 140 days--then it's ready to harvest! Cotton is cleaned and spun into thread, then woven into cloth.

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Cotton is an amazing plant--I'm hoping to learn how to spin this month using the "drop spindle" method for my own pleasure and re-enactment events!


The little plants have really enjoyed the rain--and have grown! Sorry the rows look so picked over, we try to harvest as often as possible :) There's nothing like home-grown vegetables!

Our family had a "work day" where we all cleaned up around the property or finished up projects. I moved these huge containers into the greenhouse. We'll fill them with water for the plants during the winter. Anyway, I moved all 8 containers in, and dug out areas for them to sit evenly. From the door you can see the steps we dug out..I love how it sits below ground level.

'He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.' Psalm 91:4
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A sign of His promise...
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Blushing pink...

I anticipate the days ahead :)
As the afternoons get cooler, there will be more recipes posted!

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

A un-expectantly Rainy weekend



I regret to announce that because of stormy weather conditions upon GA this weekend, we'll have to re-schedule the Old Fashioned Picnic to October. The date will most likely be Oct. 24th, hopefully that will give you all enough time. I am so sorry for this sudden change, but "flood conditions" are never what happy picnics are made of! I just know it wouldn't be fair to have miserable weather conditions on that day...Those who are traveling great distances, I'll be contacting you personally, and please feel free to email me. I'll be posting more information soon!

Kindredly Yours,

*Mia

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Washing...the old fashioned way

~Above photo is from Flickr~
Last weekend we participated in a Living History event focusing on house servants during the 1800's. Along with cooking and chores, one of the things we did was to set up our washtub, clothesline, washboard and homemade soap to demonstrate the "old fashioned way" of washing clothes. As my sister washed, I frequently ran back and forth into the house to fetch boiling water. It was a great experience, and we enjoyed sharing facts about the time period to those who stopped by. While my Mother was cooking, one of the tourists from Britain asked,{insert accent} "Is that made from scratch? That potato soup is made from scratch!? That's how they used to do it, eh? and look there--I'm used to my auto-matic washing machine at home!"


So today I decided to wash one of my skirts by hand--it had a large grease-stain on it, and although I've used the washing machine many times(to no avail), I was curious to see if washing it the old fashioned way would make a difference.

Using hot water, I scrubbed the skirt and basically washed it for about 15 minutes. (I used regular soap powder & baking soda) I rinsed in cold water, and dried it on the line...


The grease stain is *gone*! For months, I've washed this skirt repeatedly in the washer, and the grease stain has still been there. So I guess it was the hard scrubbing that removed it? I hope this encourages you to try washing by hand if you have hard-to-remove-stains on your clothing.
I love this picture--It's a kindergarten class
learning how to wash clothes and iron!~

'And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands.' Psalm 90:17
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