Monday, August 31, 2015

Am I JUST a Housewife?

I've come to the conclusion that I'll probably never work outside the home again. Between my daughter needing me accessible 24/7 (people don't want to hire someone with an unreliable schedule) and my inability to drive 15-20 days out of the month, not to mention no marketable skills (other than writing, of course) or formal education, getting a job doesn't seem like it's in the cards. But is it such a bad thing to be a housewife? Someone asked the question here, but no one really had an answer.

On a good day, I fancy myself Donna Reed or Doris Day. I do my hair and makeup, don a dress and apron, and flutter around my house making it beautiful.
It makes me happy. A clean and organized house makes me happy. My family drooling over what I made for dinner makes me happy. But being happy and making my family happy doesn't exactly pay the bills.
Since the day I stopped working outside the home (daycares don't allow teenagers, regardless of their disabilities) I've felt somewhat guilty that I don't contribute financially to our family. Sure, I sell books and even sometimes make more than a few dollars on my royalty checks, but that doesn't exactly keep a house afloat. But is the guilt rational? Is this something I've been ingrained with because of societal demands? What happened to having respect for those men or women who stayed home and ran the household? Why is it when I tell someone I'm a housewife, I immediately follow it up with "but I'm an author, too", as if being a housewife isn't a good enough "job"?

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Saturday's Vintage Videos

For Saturday's post, I decided instead of vintage commercials, why not a couple tutorials? Here are two of my fave YouTubers! ENJOY!

Joan Hollway makeup tutorial (More 60s than usual)

Lisa Freemont Street has some of the greatest vintage hair tutorials on YouTube!

Friday, August 7, 2015

My Virtual Vintage Dream Board

Since I have no desire to rush out and buy poster board, nor sit around cutting pics out of a magazine, what do you say we build a dream board. I guess I'm strange because there won't be some exotic foreign locations or brand new sports cars on my board.

Oh, how I love these dresses, skirts, and shirts! I can't be the only one who instantly feels confidant, sexy, and strong the second I slip this stuff on! Nothing else feels as natural to me as the vintage look!

 I might just have to do some DIY crafts over the winter! How cute are these glasses??!
 So kitschy, but I've always adored the midcentury poodle statues!
 I NEED a kidney shaped coffee table to go with my adorable vintage couch, chair, side tables, and lamp!
These would be so freaking cute hanging over my reading chair in the living room!

This was so fun! I think I might just do this more often! Definitely has my creative juices going! Just imagine how much of this I could make myself!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Adding to my wardrobe, thrift shopping, and zucchini bread

I registered my kids in high school today. My daughter is a sophomore and my youngest son is a...*gasp*...senior. And to answer your question, yes, I totally got emotional! My babies are growing up way too fast! Where in the world did the time go? What happened to filling cartoon character and superhero backpacks full of all those cutesy school supplies? *sigh*

After registering the monkeys and getting the boy's hair cut, we shot over to Wal-Mart. I've been slowly adding to my wardrobe, but frankly, buying true vintage can get quite expensive. Soooo, I've been making my own. (someday I'll post Outfit Of The Day). Here's the pattern I bought today:
I don't really have any circle skirts (although I have a couple dresses with the fuller skirts), so I decided to remedy that! I haven't bought the fabric yet, but I promise to post as soon as I find what I want. I'll probably make a few at one time so I have a good variety.

Now, I should totally be fabric hunting, but instead, I'm utilizing the last of my zucchinis for the summer. (I got sick for over a week and my squash and zucchini plants died since no one was taking care of them!) I currently have loaves 3 and 4 in the oven.

Yep, four loaves of zucchini bread from one zucchini! Once those are cooled I'll make some more and pop them in the freezer. How awesome will it be on cool autumn days or days when the kids and I are snowed in to run out and grab some comfort food straight from our freezer? Of course, I made these loaves wearing one of my sweet aprons. (Man, I really need to start taking some more pics!)

On another note, my mom and I took the kids thrift store shopping for some school clothes (hate buying a whole new wardrobe because it's hot for the first couple months, and my daughter is growing way too fast to buy anything too far in advance!) Check out this sweet dress I got for about $10!

I know the shoes are hideous, but they're all I have other than black flats, black heels, black knee high boots, and tennis shoes! I REALLY need some flats in different colors and some kitten heels!

That's it for today! I LOVE seeing what you've been adding to your wardrobes! Feel free to share you blogs with me so I can go stalk your pages!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Housekeepers Guide To Saving Money On Cleaning Products....

I have never been apologetic about being a "stereotypical" housewife. No, I don't flutter around the house in my dress and heels, but I do make sure my house is as clean as possible for my family. Lately, though, I've been knocked onto the sidelines by an illness that just does not want to go away. Therefore, I've had some time to do some thinking and researching. Wanna know what I've learned so far?

Here goes:

We'll start with things such as cleaning supplies. Do you know the best place to purchase premade cleaning supplies? The Dollar Store! Yeah, any dollar store, Dollar Tree, 99 Cent Store, whatever is near you. Believe it or not, the price of a cleaning agent will not affect the effectiveness of the product! Trust me on that! The dollar stores are also the best place to save money on things such as personal hygiene items, greeting cards, gift bags and gift wrap. I would skip things like vitamins, though. You want to make sure you get the right balance, otherwise, your body will just dispel what it doesn't need and you're right back to wasting money.

Want another way to save on cleaning products? Make your own! Yep, that simple. I prefer to use things such as vinegar, tea tree oil, or even just plain old Dawn or washing soda to clean with. Baking soda is much better for your surfaces than, say, Comet.

Here's a list of my fave homemade cleaning products:

Liquid Laundry Detergent
1/3 bar of Fels Naptha (Zote or Ivory works well, too. Just nothing with moisturizers in it.)
1/2 C Washing Soda
1/2 C Borax

Grate soap and put in a pan. Add 6 C of water and heat until soap melts. Add washing soda and Borax until dissolved. Remove from heat. Add 4 C of water and stir. Add 1 gallon plus 6 C of water and stir. (16 C = 1 gallon). Let sit for 24 hours. Now, the directions say to use 1/2 C per load, but I tend to use more for my kids clothes. Maybe just a full C. I also use baking soda or vinegar for stinky clothes or sheet. BUT NOT BOTH! lol

Dry Laundry Soap
I don't tend to use dry soap because I can NOT get all the crystals to dissolve. But:

8 C Borax
8 C Washing Soda
2 bars grated Fels Naptha
1 C Pyrex Crystals
Several Drops of essential oil. (the smell doesn't stay after the clothes are washed. If you want the clothes to be fragranced with essential oil, but a few drops on a dry cloth and throw it in the dryer with the clothes)

2 Tbsp per load

Add vinegar to towels or soiled sheets

If you line dry your clothes (saves SOOO much money on electricity) use vinegar in the rinse cycle to keep the clothes from getting stiff and crunchy while drying. The smell of the vinegar fades as the clothes dry.

3-1 Household Cleaner
(All purpose, Window/mirror, Air freshener)

1 C White vinegar
2 C water
1 Tbsp dish soap
30 drops of essential oil

I just funnel these ingredients into whatever empty spray bottle I have. I've been using a 409 bottle for years, but you can go purchase a new spray bottle if you'd like and just write or print out a label of what's in the bottle.

I tend to use lavender, orange, or lemon in my cleaning products. But recently I started adding peppermint. Over at Housewife How-To's she said peppermint helps to deter mice, ants, and even roaches. I live in the country and I can tell you the peppermint has definitely helped with the ants! Haven't seen one in months!

Household Disinfecting Wipes (reusable)
Mason jar or some sealable glass jar (wide mouthed)
2 C water (distilled preferably)
1 C white vinegar
Your choice of essential oils. My fave is:
15 drops lavender
5 drops lemon
5 drops Tea Tree oil
cut up squares of fabric of your choice. I cut up an old flannel nightgown, but you can use t-shirts, washcloths, etc.

Just put the squares of fabric in the jar, Mix the ingredients in a bowl and pour the cleaner over the cloths. You can just throw the cloth in the wash after each use. No more land fill waste, no more wasted money.

Window Cleaner:
If you're worried about using soap or essential oils on your glass or mirrors just use vinegar and water with a microfiber cloth.

Here are some sites with natural and homemade cleaning products that I love:
Houselogic - This site has a comparison of different laundry detergents and how they worked for her.
Housewife How-To's - She has great money saving tips, cleaning tips (love her book on the 30 days to a clean house), and how to build a schedule among other things!
Keeper of the Home - has a ton of homemade cleaning products, as well as tips on housekeeping, children, cooking, etc.

Do you have a favorite cleaning recipe? I'd love to hear it! Just share it in the comments!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Recovered my page from the hackers! And an ACCURATE 50s cleaning schedule!

A while back (before I got completely hacked and locked out of my blog) I'd posted a link to what has been perceived as the cleaning scheduled for women in the fifties. I'm an addict for anything and everything mid-century. Yes, I know the world was sexist and racist, I'm not naive. But here's the thing, even though women were told their place was in the home, they took pride in their work, in their homes, their children, and their appearance. They strived to do the best job they could. But I digress (damn soap box). After scouring the web, devouring as much as I possibly could about that time in history, I came across This post. Over at The Modern Day 50s Housewife she posted a more realistic schedule. Here's just a peek of this post:

  1. Mom would wake up and just like we do today her first chore was often to start the coffee. She had to do this first because it took ten to fifteen minutes to percolate.
  2. While the coffee percolated, she would often prepare her husband’s and children’s lunches.
  3. Next was breakfast prep, and despite what we’ve been lead to believe, every day was not a big breakfast day. Oatmeal, cold cereal, or toast were all typical weekday breakfast fare. Big breakfasts  with pancakes and eggs, and home fries were saved for weekend days. In some homes dad would eat and leave before the children woke up. And in other homes, everyone ate together. In any event, the entire morning breakfast routine doesn’t seem to be much longer than our modern-day counterpart.
  4. After eating, dad left for work and children were sent to make their beds, brush teeth and get dressed for school.  Clothing was usually planned and laid out the night before so there was no debate.  They knew what to put on and any resistance to getting these morning chores completed in a timely manner would be met with a promise to answer to dad later that day, so resistance was rare. Mom would often be tending to younger children at this time as well as possibly making her own bed and tidying her own bedroom.
  5. Where a 1950s mom’s morning really hit the time crunch that we don’t feel today is when it came time for the kids to actually get to school. Back then, a car or second car was almost unheard of. Mom had to walk the kids to school.  I think if I could change one thing from our modern-day morning routine back to the 50s version, the walk to school would be it. It was great exercise for everyone involved, and is probably one of the reasons obesity was less of an issue than it is now.
Late Morning/Early Afternoon
  1. Once mom returned from delivering the children to school, she’d often settle any younger children then she’d take a small break for tea and maybe listen to a morning radio show (usually heavily slanted toward wives and mothers because career women were almost unheard of).
  2. Then the busy work of cleaning would begin. The entire cleaning routine involved about three hours each day.
Definitely head over and read the rest of that post. In fact, have fun looking through her whole blog. It's fabulous.

You've seen my posts about developing schedules for housework, and thankfully, this post -if it's as accurate as my grandma says - is much more attainable. I always wondered why I had so many unfinished projects. Then I realized - I'm a perfectionist. If something isn't done just right, I get frustrated and walk away, telling myself I'll come back to it later, you know, when I lost the urge to put my fist through a wall. But of course, those projects stayed unfinished. I just pretended not to see the big ugly orange swatch of paint, or the paint splotches on the ceiling from my awful painting.

Since I've put myself on a schedule, life has seemed just a little easier, just a little more manageable. All those unfinished tasks don't seem so terrifying anymore, so overwhelming. I've shared my addiction to Nicole Mathurin's blog and her awesome schedules. But what do you use? Do you have everything written down and planned out? Do you wing it?

Monday, January 5, 2015

My Daily Cleaning Schedule

While I would so adore being as close to a 1950s housewife as possible, life doesn't always allow it. Sure, I could disconnect my Internet, but then I wouldn't get to talk to all of you, nor would I get to do any research. Therefore, I've had to put myself on a pretty strict schedule (although I struggle every day to stick to it!)

For years I struggled with a way to stick to a schedule - I've even tried setting an alarm to remind me to do this or that. From all the posts, videos, and blogs I've read and watched The Retro Housewife has a fantastic series that has fit my lifestyle more than any other. Don't worry, when I say "series" it's only a couple of videos. I had to change mine up a little because, frankly, I'm a creature of habit. Monday has always been clean sheet day, therefore, I had to switch the Tuesday bedroom schedule to Monday. Little things like that had to be altered, but all in all this system is working best for me so far. So here is my day to day schedule. Some things are done daily, while others are once a week. I'll try to keep it to just bullet points for now.

Make bed
Swish and Swipe toilet and sink (check out Flylady for some more cool tips)
empty trash cans
wipe down counters
daily dishes (after each meal. Way easier than having to do all of them at once)
sweep floors
feed animals (first thing before I even have coffee)
vacuum and sweep, and mop if needed.

I won't break down the individual chores for each room, but here's how I break up the week and avoid having to spend my entire weekend doing deep cleaning. Each room takes me approximately thirty minutes, and the rest of my day is spent on sewing, writing, and dealing with my Damsel In Defense business.

Mondays - Bedrooms
Tuesdays - Kitchen
Wednesdays - Living Rooms (I have a living area in the basement, too) and dining room
Thursdays - Bathrooms
Fridays - I tend to do my running on Mondays, so I allot the last day of the week to straightening up my husband's office, my "cave" (my personal work area), and the area where my daughter and I sew. During the warmer months I use Fridays to weed the gardens, muck the chicken coop, and any misc things that need to be done outside.

Like I said before, I got the basics of the schedule from The Retro Housewife Life, but I had to tweek it according to my personal schedule and family. In the weeks to come I'd be happy to break down what I do on each day, but if you really want a great place for printouts etc head over to The Retro Housewife's blog - she has the prettiest printouts, and even has some for spring and fall cleaning, as well!

If you use a housekeeping binder, or a cleaning schedule I'd love to see it or hear about it!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Vintage Cleaning and Household Videos!!!

I guess some of these videos may come off as sexist to some, but at this time in the world it was just normal for the woman to run the home. In fact, the woman was literally the CEO of the home and ensured that everyone's life ran smoothly. It seems to me more and more women are not just dreaming of returning to the life of a vintage housewife, but are doing it. I'm one of them. I've always been proud to call myself a housewife - aka, stay at home mom.