Friday, August 03, 2007

What We Do All Day

This is where I sit down to make my plans for the day, although, as you will see in this story, it is sometimes useless...

Our daughter and her husband and children have moved nearer to us, and I thought it might be fun to see why it is we can't get anything done all day, even though we are on our feet and always busy.
I think young women do something very important for society and their families just by being home and doing all the ordinary things that help make people function. If they didn't do it, they would have to pay someone else to do it, and lose the opportunity to develop relationships with their families at home.
In any given day, though, we feel we have accomplished something if all we do is get three meals and have the children safely cared for. Her little apartment is looking so cute. We hope to have pictures soon!

Here are some pictures of the mountains facing me today. Funny, I thought at my age I'd finally be organized enough to sit and knit.

What a dump!

I think this requires a professional approach. I'm headed for the bath with my bar of soap and towel. I'm going to pretend I'm going out and get ready for the big event! The cute crochet on the towels was from my mother in law, whose mother made it for her.

I still can't face it. Maybe I better make a list, first. It will help me feel more organized:

Looks like there are about 15 things that need urgent attention--besides the meals, washing dishes and ironing shirts!

But I really should have a scone and a cup of tea first, and do some inspirational reading to get my courage up..
1 cube cold butter (1/2 cup)
2 cups unbleached flour
4 teaspoons non-aluminum baking powder (you can make your own using the cream of tarter recipe* or buy a brand called Rumford)
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
*for one teaspoon baking powder, mix:
1/2 tsp cream of tarter
1/4 teaspon baking soda
1/4 teasp. cornstarch

Grease a baking pan. Heat oven to 350. Mix the baking powder and flour thoroughly with a slotted spoon. Cut the butter with a serrated steak knife into tiny pieces into the dough and then knead it in with a plastry cutter (one of those things with wires on it). It should be a small as blueberries in texture. Then mix in another small container the liquids (milk and egg) till well blended. Add it to the flour mixture and quickly mix it into a ball. Pat it out on floured surface to about an inch thick and cut with round cutter or divide the dough in half, pat into circle, and cut 6 ways into wedges, as I did in the picture here. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve with marmalade or butter or anything you like!

Okay now I really should get busy! But wait, here is a little boy that came with a hurt. He needs a bandaid. His mother is changing the baby so I guess I better do it:

It is still morning. I might get something done yet, if I make a dash for it and no one interrupts me. Sometimes I feel like Basil Fawlty in the British comedy "Fawlty Towers." He was a hotel proprietor that was always trying to get the place cleaned up or repaired or the gardening done or meals, etc. and he was so frustrated once he said, "I could manage this hotel perfectly, if it weren't for the customers!"
Now I see the mail is here. I better go and get it:

It is a nice day to hang laundry. Everything is drying instantly.

I'm keeping an eye on Miss Lillian, too, and she seems to like work. She sits and watches it for hours!

I had to go to the farmer's market before it closed. This isn't the usual way I allow people to take photos of me but I wanted to show you why I don't wear pants or shorts. In this position, which I find myself in the kind of work I do, a skirt or dress is much more modest and I feel more confident (and feminine). Loose clothes are actually cooler (in hot weather or hot flashes!) I've had to change clothes already after holding Miss Lillian through several spit-ups and diaper changes.

Okay now, where was I? Where is that list?

Remember the picture of the guest room where everything was piled high? I'm only just starting to get it cleaned up! Here's what to do with the bare corner.

It is after dinner already and finally, no one needs me so I'm going to sneak away and finish that guest room! But oh, I forgot to water the garden, and it is still light outside and getting cooler so I have to go, before everything dies.

Yay...I got the bed made. That's a start! I think I can tackle the rest, even though I'm about to fall off my feet! That little bit of beauty makes me want to keep going.

Yes I know I'm doing more than necessary but it makes me so happy and it is a great way to store things that end up in boxes.

Here is another corner of that room with the bear corner.

I must admit I'm doing more than is required, but it keeps me motivated!

Another corner of that room.

It isn't a dump anymore.

And now for the kitchen. The flash didn't work in the "before" picture so you can just imagine what it was like. I can still see improvements that need to be made in the "after picture." I had to clean the kitchen so we could find something to eat on, and make a space to prepare lunch.

Here is the kitchen table, which I use when I don't have company. I've kept a child's drawing on the wall all these years, over there on the far right. Be sure to read my Lily's take on this modern art here: because she owns some similar artwork.

The main dining room is still a mess...

...but I think I'll quit. Remember that list? I only got ONE THING on it completed: the guest room. Maybe I am making the wrong kind of list.

Gal 6:9 But we should not lose heart in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not faint.


Mrs. H said...

Dear Lady Lydia,

Thank you so much for sharing pictures of your home and a day in your life. I have often wondered while reading your blog, "what does Lady Lydia's home look like? It must be beautiful." It certainly is beautiful! I often feel similar things as go through my day. I'm walking down to the basement to do the laundry, and then I see that the trash needs to go out, so I do that. I'm planning to clean out a drawer, and then a friend calls and needs a ride to pick up her car from the mechanic. But that is life! It is hard to see all we do, but we are busy all day long.

Thank you for the encouragement!

Lydia said...

If the disgruntled commenter who wrote that she didn't like Miss Lillians dress and accused me of being a terrible grandmother would please email me, I'd be happy to tell you something. Until then, your comments will not be published. They are rude and a bad example to other people, as well as self-righteous, hypocritical and judgemental.

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia,

Thank you for allowing us a glimps into your daily life. I was both charmed and encouraged by your beautiful pictures and stories! As I was reading and I arrived at the part you began making a list, I suddenly remembered I had a few dishes in the sink and my husband would arrive soon. I stopped and washed them, and came back and continued reading. My husband then arrived and I greeted him with a kiss and a cold glass of water. He was most grateful! Thank you for your inspiration!

Anonymous said...

Heh. -I- like Miss Lillian's dress. Some folks, however, can't get over themselves long enough to be objective, though.

Your recipe for scones looks tasty, Mrs. Sherman, but how do you avoid them coming out dry and flat? I'm investigating recipes for blueberry scones, because "Mr. Pilgrim" isn't fond of my muffin recipe...*sigh*

Lydia said...

You can use 1/2 cup light tasting olive oil instead of butter, but either one will make a nice light and moist scone. The secret is not to smash them out in the first place. Divide dough in half and pat on floured surface into 5 inch circles and make sure it is almost an inch high. Dough will be sticky, so don't add flour. It will make them dry and hard. Instead, just coat one side and then the other in the flour on the surface, pat into circles and then cut into wedges. Separate slightly and put into baking pan. Actually I can do most of the preparation in the same pan if I use a small square pan. Perhaps we could take some pictures of the step by step method sometime. Cook only 15 minutes and then check them. The longer you cook them the flatter and dryer they get.

Lydia said...

The rude protester never gives a name or a blog so I will call her Rude-n-Cross. She can be our resident griper/complainer/bitter/throw-cold-water-on-everythng person.

Alexandra said...

Thanks for the chuckles...I love the way you procrastinate with grace. I get it all done too, but I like to enjoy the day along the way as well. :) Better Basil Fawlty than Hyacinth Bucket(Keeping Up Appearances), lol.

Anonymous said...

I've been enjoying your blog for over a year now, and this has been my favorite post ever!!! I loved all the real life pictures of you, your home, and your darling grandchildren, especially beautiful Lillian in her precious outfit!! =) Your home, with all it's pretty pink, reminds me of MY grandmother's home, and it's what I would like to accomplish in my home eventually!! =)

Karen said...

I loved today's post. Thank you for sharing your day with us. Your home looks very cosy & romantic. A real homey place always has some activity going on or pile of something (mail, laundry, dishes) to attend to. Your blog reminds us that it is only drudgery if we think that way.

Country Victorian said...


You have made some beautiful changes since I last was there. Your scones and tea is so delicious but it is the way you decorate that I find so inspiring. I am so glad you posted pictures of your home. I can attest from personal experience that you are an amazing homemaker who wisely uses your talents and have so much more to share.

We will have to chat on how to you created space and beauty in varying sized areas, how you have accomplished beauty on a budget and bring creativity in all you do.
The ladies need to see more of what you have accomplished! What a gift!

Love Lisa

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful glimpse into your life. Even though there were interruptions along the way...your day looked peaceful, calm, and serene! (pink is such a peaceful and beautiful color!) What an inspiration... you created beauty, had compassion for others, and served your family! Those who criticize can NOT understand the peace one has in "being" at home. Only till one has surrendered their will, and have a willing heart to care for their home, can one truly know peace! Lynn from Indiana

Lydia said...

Just wanted to tell you something about the inside of those rooms. In the guestroom, the curtains are two twin size flat sheets, folded upwards and sewn across. These days you do not even have to sew. There is fabritack and velcro for home decoration. The desk in the guest room we've had for over 30 years and it has been through several changes of paint and color. Now we are just letting it chip and enjoying the different layers showing through...actually we are too busy to repaint it. It has been used for a desk, a dressing table, an entry table, an end table in the living room, a sofa table, a child's dresser, a buffet, and a sewing desk. I like versatile furniture.

Lydia said...

I have grown to really enjoy sage green, a kind of mint/aqua green. It feels so cool in summer, and looks wonderful with cream white paint on the walls. I am using more and more of that color. It looks very nice with red or light pink or just about anything.

Mrs. H said...

Thank you for posting about your day...

I all too often begin my day by making a to-do list, and end it by realizing I barely managed to do anything on it. I am "doing" all day, just not what I planned to do.

It's nice to know someone else has the same thing happen to them.


Anonymous said...

Dearest Lady Lydia,

What a wonderful glimpse into a day in your life. I know well the days when we set out with grand plans yet none of it gets done (smile). Your scone recipe is spot on. for the ladies whose scones turn out dry, tough or both, the trick's in handling the dough as little and lightly as possible from the time the butter's cut in till the scones are on the biscuit sheet.

A delicious and fancy addition for afternoon tea (special occasion) is dill into the dough (fresh not dried as dried doesn't work in the same way) leaving out any sugar. once room temperature, split these and upon each half spread some philadelphia cream cheese, then top with some smoked salmon, a caper and a sprig of dill. don't sandwitch them but serve open. Beautiful with cucumber tea sandwitches and perhaps a melon platter and lemon slice (lovely birthday or anniversary tea).

Let me tell you, the kitchen cupboards have been calling for weeks and I've been ignoring them. As we don't have a pantry as such or even room for an extra cupboard the space for foodstuffs becomes cramped and cluttered very quickly. You've inspired me to get to it once again.

Oh, and don't worry about the peanut gallery, they'll never be happy with anything you say or do regardless of what it is. Boy o boy, being miserable and unhappy must be so, ehm, miserable.

So everyone, smile, rejoice and have an excellent day.


Mrs. E,

Tracy said...

I enjoyed seeing the photos of your home, Lady Lydia. Thanks for sharing! :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the beautiful pictures. I would like to encourage ladies, as you are, who feel like they are not getting enough done during the day. I love to make to-do lists and enjoy the satisfaction of crossing chores off the list. But sometimes at the end of the day, it is discouraging to see only a few crossed off. After reading a devotion by Elisabeth Elliott, I realized my focus is often in the wrong place. Now, my goal is to sit down in the morning to make out my list for the day, then offer it up to God, praying, "Not my list, but thine be done, Lord." Because of this prayer, I can look at the unfinished jobs on my list at the end of the day and be reassured that they may have been on my list, but they weren't on God's list. And that's okay.

Anonymous said...

What lovely dresses you are wearing these pictures! Did you make some of them?


Anonymous said...

What an inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing. Did you crochet the lovely pink doily placemats on your luncheon table? I really must learn to crochet. They are so pretty.


Kimberline said...

The post was so very pleasant and sweet in a homey and familiar way. That is how my days go by too, and I rarely can cross an item off a list unless I "micro-list" the tiniest of things that I would do in a day. That would be a waste of time in the writing of it all though :)

I am happiest in my home when I putter about, doing what I see needs to be done, just in the way you have. When I am stringent to stick to a list, my children will suffer as they need me just when they need me and not when I have finished a task on my list. An item on the list eventually will be done and crossed off. It is important that we are not crossing off our children as "done" in order to do chores. I love that you point out what is truly important. Perspective and priorities mean that our husband's and children need our attention first and all other things can wait. It is the people in my home that get my best energy and care.

I loved your point about some days where just seeing to the children and getting 3 meals done is a successful day. And thank you for the scripture from Galatians. What encouragement is in those words.

I thought Lillian's dress was darling. I remember days where my babies often were dressed only in a diaper and "onesie." What would Miss Griper Complainer think about that? Are her children perhaps dressed in just a shirt and diaper, too? And her dishes undone in the sink while she finds fault with everyone else?

One thing my husband has often reminded me is that the people who attacked and criticized me most viciously about my child raising and home caring is that they were doing so out of jealousy or a mistaken notion that THEY were perfect. I've been praying for the ladies who come here to find fault. What a very unhappy sort of person that is. I hope that they can find joy in small ways. I'd suggest happy puttering about the home as a past time they should begin immediately :)



Lydia said...

Good points about doing what needs to be done at the moment. It is important to get dressed and prepared, because no day will go on schedule. You might not get anything extra done, but the family will eat and the children will be safely watched. And if you dress and fix your hair, at least you'll look nice while doing all these little things..

Lydia said...

The heart shaped placemats were made by someone else. I have not had time to crochet but I enjoy supporting other people who do, by buying their pieces when I can.

Lydia said...

Yes, they are home sewn. One is a pattern I will share with some of the ones who like to sew and have the time (I seem to no longer have the time). The bright Hawaiian looking one has no facing and is just a front and back piece. I choose sleeves of varying styles from my other patterns. The neckline is a self facing you just turn down a fourth of an inch twice. This sews up really fast. The pattern is old and we gave a copy of it to our friend Rebecca Newton so she could make a new one and maybe reproduce it for everyone. It is a homemaker's dream because it sews up so fast. I've stacked layers of fabric and made 3 or 4 at the same time by cutting them all at once.

Anonymous said...

you have got to be kidding? you don't mean the adorable little pink dress and bonnet? someone needs glasses. no, they need a life.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Thank you, dear Lady Lydia, for allowing us to take a peak inside your home and daily life! I loved your cute little kitchen table.

Anneatheart said...

Dear Lady Lydia,

I am a long time reader of your blog and articles on LAF. I think I've even written emails to you before. I just loved all your little rooms and feminine touches. Can I be a guest? Oh did I mention I would have to bring my three girls, ages 4,3,1??? They love tea parties.

I so love your blog and become so uplifted and encouraged when I read it.You are most welcome to read mine-

God bless,

Martha said...

Thanks for sharing! It is nice to see that someone else's day can go as crazy as mine. So many nights I have sat down on the couch and wondered what I did all day as I look at my list. Then I review it all in my mind and realize a lot!

Have a great day.

Anonymous said...

What a gorgeous post! I simply loved seeing the photos of your home.

How anyone could say something unkind about Miss Lillian's beautiful little dress is shocking. What little Lillian wears does them no harm, even if they do ascribe to the "no pink" or "no pretty things" school of thought. If they wish, they may dress their little girls in grey overalls and miniature combat boots, but why they think they have to crab about other people will always be a mystery to me. It must be sad to have a life so devoid of things to do that these folks feel it necessary to spread their unhappiness across the Internet, and unfortunately, they are everywhere.

Having grown up without beautiful things like Miss Lillian's dress, it gives me enormous happiness to see that somewhere in the world, little baby girls are cherished and dressed as the precious things they are and treated as valuable little people and not just nuisances that impede their parents' progress in life (this was my lot). Go right ahead and love and cherish that baby and dress her beautifully - it is a tonic for such as me to see such a happy, obviously beloved child.

Simply delete the grouchy naysayers, Lady Lydia. I have found over years of Internet activity that it is simply pointless to try to get them to see any point of view other than their own - though they are always the very first to scream that people aren't broadminded and accepting enough!

Anonymous said...

Oh Lydia,

I really enjoyed this glimpse into your life. Your home looks so pretty and sweet, looks like you put a lot of love and thought into your home. Oh how sweet it is! Thanks for allowing us to have a glimpse into your life and oh your grandchildren are just so beautiful. I wish I knew how to sew such pretty outfits for my children and myself.

Have a Blessed Day Lydia

Anonymous said...

What lovely pictures,I see you love lace mats or doilies,I have a big collection now. I found some at a Historical Society meeting last week,there were three items which cost a third of what one would have cost on Ebay!!I agree so much about skirts and dresses being cooler, and long skirts are so much more feminine and modest.Please keep posting the gorgeous pictures of your grandaughter,I have only grandsons at the moment.

Anonymous said...

My goodness you receive a lot of letters. That one on top looks slightly familiar....

*Sigh* . This post made me miss you guys and Oregon even more. Were you at Thistledowns?

Anonymous said...

Do I even WANT to know what "Rude-n-Cross" said? Granted I may not agree with every single word on this blog, but at least the articles are written in a respectable manner. (You'd be surprised of existing websites that have an especially crass tone to them...but I won't go into detail about them here.)

I also like Miss Lillian's dress and your dresses too, Lady Lydia. I'm 22 and slowly working towards getting to a point where I can where skirts/dresses full-time. I was raised to practically live in pants and shorts. Although I have yet to be in a position to do away with pants altogether I usually wear a skirt/dress once a week so that my skirts/dresses don't go to waste.

On a final note, about the statement about how the naysayers, "are always the very first to scream that people aren't broadminded and accepting enough!" Though I strive to be open minded to be polite, I can't help but wonder if true broadmindedness considers even the least desirable of veiws. (I've heard a quote in Hamlet that "There's nothing neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so.)

Lydia said...

These kinds of people can find even the most nuetral sites--say something like Better Homes and Gardens, and get on a message board and start a fight. It is amazing that they do this. They can argue about anything. If you say the sky is blue they will argue with it. Who are they? Once on the LAF board one of them was actually traced and it turned out to be someone who lived quite near one of the moderators, who was actually a para-legal working in a lawyer's office. Her rants and raves were so childish and she never stayed on subject...tell me HOW these girls survive in the professional world, and why they appear to be so different online. I can't imagine them talking to their co workers the way they talk to strangers online. How can people be one way in person and a complete other way in print...

Lady of the house said...

What a sense of humor you have. Was I the only one giggled out loud over this post. A true delight!

Lydia said...

Patty we'd love to see your site but your name wouldn't connect us to it. Maybe if you logged in, it would take us directly to it. The url didn't work for me.

Lydia said...

Lady Lydia,
I am one of those "young ladies" that stays home and gets the question "What do you do all day at home?". Sometimes I wonder myself where my day goes but I do know I keep busy!
The next time I am asked that I will answer "The ordinary things that help make people function." Being a homemaker is so fulfilling and blessed!

Blessings in Christ,
Miss Lydia

Anonymous said...

This post was an encouragement to me in several ways. 1. I'm not the only one that has trouble getting things done. 2. That just feeding, clothing, and tending the children is an accomplishment. 3. Confirming once again that God knows best how women should dress.

My only question is...Should I give up the dream of being organized and be able to do crafts and crochet? =)

Shannon said...

Dear Lady Lydia,
It IS encouraging to know that I am not the only one who makes a list, and doesn't get much of it accomplished! Sometimes, though, looking at that list of un-crossed off to-do items is so discouraging... I've taken to having days where I don't write down all the things I need to do, because it makes me feel so bad to see how much I didn't get done. Rather, I write down all the things I DID do - even little things that don't seem very significant. I know I spend my days busy, but sometimes, especially when my hubby comes home and says, "So, what did you do today?", I can't remember what I spent that busy day doing, and this is a nice reminder that I'm not doing "nothing" all day long! :)

Anonymous said...

You look beautiful in your outfits.