Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Born at Home

Many babies are born at home these days, and it is good to see the midwives back in business, after being absent from our society for decades. Our daughter is having her third child at home any day now, and I must say how impressed I have been with the confidence and professionalism of the women who assist in these births. The atmosphere is so wonderfully peaceful and calm. Everything is at ease.

There is one need, however, that I think the childless women or the older women without children, could fulfill at such occasions.

When children are born in hospitals, visitors naturally have to walk past the wonderful gift shop which presents all manner of irresistable gifts for the new mother. I remember that someone bought me a beautiful, large pink ceramic baby carriage (old fashioned pram) filled with pink rosebuds. I treasured it for a long time til I broke it. I certainly wish I had it back now. My room was filled with flowers in interesting vases and personal things like bath products in collectible containers.

Because the baby is born at home, visitors are less likely to intrude. It is not as public a place as a hospital. Women who are able, could perhaps make it a point to see that the new mother at home can get some flowers and gifts just like the ladies in the hospital. It is easy to overlook this because you aren't walking past a gift shop on the way to the room where the baby is!!

Another service would be hair and makeup. We never had any success finding a hairdresser that would come to the house and style my daughter's hair, nor someone who would come and do her hands and nails and give her a facial. She was really worn out from the delivery and in a few days expressed a need for something like this. She and many other new moms said they just felt washed out and tired and not very perky, and that the hair, the facial, the hands, really needed a makeover.

Perhaps also some really good food attractively arranged, to keep her blood sugar up, would be helpful. The new mothers sometimes experience depression and it is largely almost 100 percent due to low blood sugar, which can be easily alleviated by good, dense, high calorie comfort foods that will stick to the ribs, so to speak. They must eat often, if not constantly. A big bowl of really good fresh fruit and some vegetables and dip, as well as lots of good things to drink--maybe some herbal tea in a special teapot and cup that is presented to the new mother.

Sometimes when a baby is born at home, people assume that the mother will have everything she needs, but it is easy to neglect and overlook things. For example, in a hospital, a shift of people will share in looking after her needs--making sure she has a shower and the baby is looked after, or getting her meals, keeping the laundry caught up, and looking after the other children. There is a houskeeping crew that changes the bedding, a meal crew that brings food and takes away the empties, a nurse that checks her vitals, etc. However, in the home, these tasks sometimes fall to both mothers, and usually one mother has to go home after a few days, so it can be quite a hectic time for the husband and the mother or mil. That is where other women come in. Their help is so needed and appreciated at this time.

One other thing that would be very helpful is a baby basket, with all the needs of a newborn in it. Although women have baby showers these days, they often wait until after the baby is born. The newborn needs a couple of outfits to wear while it is waiting for its baby shower. Babies go through half a dozen outfits a day sometimes, and there can never be too few things for them to wear. Also, care should be given to see that the clothing is either 100% cotton and of high quality, or a natural fibre, so that it does not cause a heat rash or some allergic reaction.

If you know of any good baby products, be sure to show us where they are, in your comments.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Making Your Home A Place You Like to Be In

Have you ever wondered why there are certain shops that are more appealing to you than others? Take a look at the elements that go into drawing in the customer. The place is well-lighted by something called indirect lighting. This means that small lamps and lights behind soft lampshades are coming from corners and places that do not hit you directly in the face or overhead. They seem soft and natural.

Secondly, everything is orderly. The shops have the same things where the same things belong.

Thirdly, they are clean. You rarely find gum wrappers or used tissues and soiled clothing among the merchandise. Thirdly, everything is beautiful, and even things that are not aesthetically appealing will be displayed neatly and attractively.

Fourthly, you want to visit again because there was nothing unpleasant to confront you, and that what you see there is appealing. This is the sort of thing that needs to translate into our homes to make them places of comfort.

Home living can be creative and even exciting to you. It takes a lot of study and intelligence to design the shops I am describing, and it takes a lot of thought and effort to make a home a place you want to stay in.

I have found some shops online that you might be able to get some ideas from. And, speaking of women, working, and shops, let me say that every woman at home has a home business. If you clean your house and find things to discard, putting them in a box for a summer yard sale, you are in business. If you shop for bargains so that your husband's provision can stretch, you have a home business.

If you are guarding your husband's income and investing some of it, you have a business.There is nothing wrong with women earning money. A good wife uses thrift and economic opportunity. The problem comes when she begins to put her family aside, when she has to rush a half hearted dinner, or run through the housework doing a less than perfect job, in order to accommodate her business. If she puts earning money first, her home and family will suffer. I know several women who have never had to work or earn their own money because they took such good care of their husband's money that they now have extra income.

Not all women will desire to have a shop or sell things. Some of them are in different stages of life. When my children were teenagers, I wanted them to understand enterprise, so I turned my back porch into a garage sale shop. There, we put discarded but usuable items, with price tags, and some hand crafted things. One of my children made beautiful grape vine wreaths that he sold.

Women who make things, often make more than they need, and sell to their friends. That is enterprise. The Proverbs 31 woman gave her garments to the merchant to sell. She did not sit in a shop all day while her home was negelected. Even if your house is clean and you are organzied to the hilt, if you leave it empty day after day, it will not be the same.

There is not the same atmosphere there when a woman is absent, as there is when she is home during the day. Her husband can testifiy to this by comparing the days when she has to be away at her mother's house, or when she is not home, and he comes home to an empty house. The atmosphere of home is just not there as much as when she is home all day to put all the finishing touches on everything. You can see the difference yourself when you come in after having to be out shopping or on errands. It takes several hours after that to get a feeling of "home" back into the house.

Men whose mothers stayed home, know this. That is why they like to go home for special celebrations. Their mothers somehow put a feeling there that modern homes do not have. That feeling was very simply the presence of the woman. Even if she is not well and has to lay on a couch or recliner, that home feels more like a home than one that is abandoned all day. There is a reason that the Bible says women should guard the home, and guide it. One is to keep others from breaking in and stealing things, and another is to create a sense of ownership and personality in it.

This is not to imply that women have to be home every single minute--indeed, that would be impossible, and it is a real treat to go somewhere else and see what is new and what other people are doing, to get refreshed and gather some new ideas for your own dear home.

Now let us go on to the shops I was speaking of. I have found many women who have shops at home, and why not? Little children love the idea of shops. When I was young, we never tired of playing store during the cold winter days when we had to be confined. Instead of waiting for a yard sale to get rid of their old things that they don't have room for, many people are setting up shops online, on ebay, or other places. The beauty of such shops is that they can monitor how big or little they will be. If there is only one product to sell, one time, the housewife will be done with it after the sale, until she decides to sell another product. She can close her store when she wants to. She doesn't have to be a slave to it. Many of these shops are very feminine.

This one is very pretty and the owners look like they are from the same family.

This one has a "suite of the month" where you can view the rooms of someone's home. Just look at the menu on the right.

Here is one that has the mantel of the month which is fun to look at and can give some ideas about creating the kind of atmosphere in certain corners of your home that are pleasing to you. Just look on the left for the icon.

I like which also has a cottage website. has some interesting things if you like pink and frosty things.

Try some of these blogs, the owners of which also have online shops
Sweet Necessi-Teas
Alecia's Attic
Janet's Creative Pillows
Of Bluebirds and Roses
Katie's Rose Cottage
Casual Cottage
Cottage Blooms
Wildrose Cottage
Shabby Suite
Beloved Creations
The Cottage Chronicle
C'est Chouette
Artful Creations
Barberry Field
Beloved Creations
Cottage Blooms
Cottage Chronicle
Janet's Creative Pillows
Just Art Pottery
Katies Rose Cottage
Make Mine Pink
My Hydrangea Home
One Womans Cottage Life
Sweet Remembrance
The Sewing Divas
The Shabby Suite
Treasured Heirlooms

Some of these blogs and online shops take ordinary things and make them look extraordinary. Contentment at home is partly the ability to appreciate what you have and to be able to use it in a creative way.

Someone reminded me to add these:

Friday, November 10, 2006

Home in the Humblest of Places

(I certainly would have started my day on a different tone if I had read this in the beginning!)

"BEAUTY SPOTS".......Cleanly Simplicity
written by Mary Brooks Picken in 1925

Walking down the street the other day, I saw a shabby little doll on some half tumbled-down steps and a little girl five or six years of age with a worn-out broom, energetically sweeping the ground. I watched her as I came near and I remarked, "My, but you are a good sweeper." She lifted her little face and said, "I's making a clean place for my dolly and me to play at."

This is a beautiful thought, expressing one of the most essential threads in our garment of life--"a clean place for my dolly and me." If every woman would only love her family as this little girl loved her dolly--enough to keep things clean for them--life would be different for her and for those she should treasure.

The woman who loves her family enough to tidy herself up for their home coming, who provides a clean table and attractive food, if possible, for her family to eat, who happily keeps her floor swept clean, is building for herself in the hearts of her people tender memories and appreciation, which, though not expressed, will reflect in their lives over and over again and will help them in being kind and lovingly cnsiderate of some one else. And, after all, that is the way rewards should be expressed. They should travel down through the years to serve as good examples.

Some women say they haven't anything to do with, but the only people that I have ever known who didn't have anything to do with were those who did not have the desire to do. There are people living now who can tell of the dugouts out in Kansas before there was lumber or money there to build houses. These dugouts were caves in the ground with dirt flors, but many a time I have heard folks tell how cozy they were and how very clean and smooth the earth floors were kept. The women had no convenieces, yet they built happy hearthstones and gave a good start to their children. Kansas is a great state, and much of its greatness today is due to the love and unselfishness of its far-visioned pioneers.

I once visited a woman who lived in a box car on a railroad siding. A new piece of railroad was being built, and her husband was supervising engineer. A cleaner little place I have never seen, a soft cream color inside with white curtains on the four windows that had been cut in the sides of the car. The furniture, except the bed, table, and stove, were made from boxes painted in cream color and finished by means of white scarfs and curtains. Blue denim covered two trunks and several boxes, which served as seats. A box of pink geraniums was in each window, having been carefully packed and carried from the city.

She happily told how some of the men who worked on the road would come and ask to look in because " 'twas all so pretty."

I asked if it was difficult to keep the scarfs, curtains, table cloths, and bedding white, and the answer was: "Yes, quite a problem, but not so difficult as to do without them."

The husband of this little woman is going forward to a splendid success. They no longer live in the isolated region nor in the box car. I have often thought, as I have heard from these people, that this treasure woman is a true example of the old quotation: "Many women are like candles, finding their brightest moments serving others. 'Tis they who joyfully consume themselves in lighting the way for their loved ones."

"Give that ye may receive," is instruction that we hear, forget, and fail to heed; yet application of it can mean literally picking up a life of happiness instead of misery. Give smiles if you have nothing else. Give encouragement, good cheer. Make beauty come to you through your desire to express it. Your thoughts, deeds, motives, acts, industries, and desires--all can express beauty if beauty is in the heart; all can give happiness if love is the carrying vehicle.

Sweep a clean place for you and your loved ones to "play at." Learn to love people and their little ways--odd, queer, or lovely. Love folks and your work, and you will be doing a big part of what God wants you to do."

from: "Thimblefuls of Friendliness"

Monday, November 06, 2006

Getting a Feel for Home Decorating

A photo here from shows the use of fabrics in home decorating. In an old homemaking book written in the 1800's, there was a description of a young married woman's first home, in which the author told how cleverly she used pieces of fabric to cover boxes that had her possessions stored in them, until the couple could afford to buy their own furniture. Fabrics are one of the elements that make a house feel like a real home.

You can see more toile patterns and read about the history of toile fabrics (fabrics with scenes on them) here


Even if you do not sew, fabrics can be draped or folded and used to brighten up a room, as well as to protect the surface of wood furniture.

Letters at Home

Today there are many women and men separated for various reasons for long periods of time. Whether it be a job that takes men away or the military, there is a need to write letters of value to these men. Keep the letters sympathetic towards their plight, but avoid too much depressing communication on your part. Life is difficult enough for the men who are away from their families without perpetuating problems through the mail. Letters to men away from home will be a part of history one day. Think about how you would like such letters to be viewed by people in another era, if they are saved. If you can, be known as someone who has the confidence to lift up the fallen, rather than write things that create more conflict.

Letters mean a lot when people are away from home, and even though it is easier now to email or make cell phone calls, letters create a permanent record that can be read and re-read, giving comfort each time. Sending your best compliments will be appreciated far more than you know at the time.

Right now I am reading my parents' letters and getting a lot of information from them for a book about their lives. If they had not taken the time to write, I would not have this valuable resource. I know that a lot of people wanted me to write about homemaking or some such thing, but I think inside this book (if I ever finish it) you are going to see something about life that was simple and sweet and oh, so happy, that seems to be lost these days.

One never knows how much a letter really means, especially if it has information in it about how they are living their lives, what they do daily, who their friends are, and what their greatest concerns are. Modern history sometimes does not accurately portray life, but letters tell the real story!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Women at Home Save Men's Lives

For many years, it was observed that most heart attacks among men came in the morning. Why was that? Some cardiologists have observed that blood cells are sticky when an attack occurs. In the morning before breakfast, cells are sticky. After breakfast, they become slippery again.

Those who don't have a heart attack may get a tremendous headache or other ailments. A good, hearty, nutritious breakfast may be the answer to a healthy heart. When the body fasts at night, it needs to break the fast with a meal in the morning. One cannot imagine the early settlers skipping breakfast. The wagon trains and the cattle drivers all had chuck wagons with them to provide cooked meals. Not until the 20th century did the view of food change so drastically that people, especially women, began to skip breakfast. It has not improved the national health.

A good breakfast, like those that people used to eat prior to the 1960's, full of protein and calories, which might include a freshly squeezed orange, bacon, eggs, potatoes, and homemade rolls with butter and honey, keeps the body from drawing on its own resources and falling into a slump later on in the day. To read more about breakfast, go here

This, more than anything is why women should be home and take the time to provide a nutritious breakfast. It is even better if she has the time to shop for the highest quality ingredients and make it herself. She saves the health and lives of the men in her family. In the early 1960's when more women went to work, men were left eating a quick bowl of cold cereal or a piece of toast with coffee, and began to have more health problems. Throughout the day, stress increased at work, and problems with co-workers became more prevalent. Grouchy and unhealthy, many men had heart attacks.

A poor breakfast leads to a poor lunch, because a person will feel tired and upset, and very hungry by lunchtime. Eager to make up for the nutrition the body missed, they may resort to even more "quick" food that gives instant energy, rather than a good home cooked meal. A bad breakfast sets up a trend for the day. Women at home can change this, just by making breakfast a very special and important meal. Particularly essential is the pleasantness in which it should be served, not bringing stress and problems to the table.

Women at home have a great advantage because they can spend more time planning breakfast, and not have to rush off to work. If you have animals around, whether pets or wild birds, you know that even the animals eat breakfast.

One person commented on this blog that since the stomach is empty and it is not advisable to hit it with a huge, hot meal suddenly after a fast, to try eating sliced fruit or drinking fruit juice first, then wait half an hour. This is a very good idea, especially for those who are not hungry in the morning.

painting: Cavalryman's Breakfast.


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