Tuesday, May 01, 2012

A Few Comforts of Home

by Valentine Cameron Prinsep, English, 1838-1904

Read bio of the artist here.

Someone gave me a product of her hands: 

pie apples in Kerr canning jars,  with a fabric toppers, secured by colorful rubber bands.

This is one of those old blue Ball canning jars, used for a vase. The blue jars are now available, new, in some stores.
I could not resist showing off my colored eggs today, given by my wonderful hens.

These small,  bright containers, replicas of the original galvanized steel outdoor buckets and tubs which were staples of country living for so many years, now come in colors of blue, yellow and green, costing a dollar each at dollar store

Great for holding my sewing supplies right next to my sewing machine, or to hold other things:

All is well here, and I hope all is well with those who drop by for a visit. I welcome your comments and suggestions for future posts. I am working on some post subjects on my list, and hope to post them before too long.


Tricia said...

Dear Lady Lydia,
I just adore your blog! I find such inspiration from it! I would love to see a post on raising daughters and maybe something about weight loss/maintaining our figures for our husbands. Have a blessed evening!


Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia,

Your blog is a source of comfort and happiness.

I would enjoy seeing a post about how to make a daily and weekly routine that provides a good balance of healthful activity and rest.

It would be helpful to see examples of an actual weekly schedule, to see how to balance waking and sleeping, visiting and leisure time at home, study and play.

Thank you for your blog!

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love your blog! I turn to it regularly for encouragement and inspiration. I love Tricia's ideas about raising daughters and weight loss but I also have another one that is very near and dear to my heart. One that I know you have commented on frequently in the past: homeschooling.

I have been on-again, off-again homeschooling for several years. Each time I have sent my children off to public school, it has broken my heart and I remember my conviction to homeschool. I started off the 2011-2012 school year with my two school-aged children in public school, but in a fit of conviction, brought them home after Christmas break. We have been at home since then. The problem is: we haven't been homeschooling. Now I am frustrated beyond belief and again contemplating sending the kids back to public school. After all, despite the evils of public education, some education does take place. I suppose my question is this: is there ever a time to send your children off to public school in order to fully develop your own self-discipline? I don't want to put my children's education at risk by my lack of self-control. I know I am lazy and undisciplined (I grew up without anyone forcing me to be anything other than just plain selfish. I believe it was "cute" at first and eventually so ingrained that nothing could be done for me). The thing is, I try, and inevitably fail. I try again and fail. And in the meantime, my children are shifting about without an education and without a mother at home (since I stay inside myself).

Do I recognize my folly and place my children temporarily in a flawed system in order to work whole-heartedly at my own personal struggles or do I allow my children to see my struggles and pray that I overcome them? I can imagine all kinds of strict edicts and commands, but I know I'm weak at this point, and particularly low in spirit over this situation. I would greatly appreciate your advice on this subject, or even more generally, as to how to keep going when you are discouraged or attacked.

I'm sure you've written relevant posts, please feel free to refer me to them if you can think of them. :)

Thank you,


Lydia said...

Kristi, While I do see the necessity of addressing this in a future post, I detect some urgency in your comment and will tell you something here.

IF you are not consistent in training and educating your children, or if the style of steady study just does not suit you or your children don't really respond to a lot of book work, research the concept of "un-schooling<' where a child learns from daily living at home with his parents as they "go". See Dueteronomy 6:6-8 where God instructed the Israelites to teach their children while walking, waking, sitting at home, etc. You don't need a curriculum or a lot of books for that. Teach them to be curious enough to learn on their own and there will be no stopping them. Then, you wont have to stand over them and instruct in every little thing.

But don't share your failures with the public school. It is a bad testimony for home and homeschool and for Christians to allow the Philistines to train their children. If you are an on again, off again type of teacher, then, please, please, be on again, off again AT HOME and keep the problem under your own roof. If you are not a "very good" homeschooler, you are still the mother and the teacher in many ways! The mixed messages you are giving them by sending them to public school half the time are not good. And your "after all, some education is going on, at least, in public school" is not necessarily true. What is going on there is more indoctrination in to a life that is different than the kind of life that Christians are supposed to train their children in.

Lydia said...

I have often observed that even a mother at home sick on the couch is a better teacher for her own children, and that home is better for her children than elsewhere. I once read of a woman who had a terrible year while trying to homeschool. Absolutely no bookwork got done, because their house burned down and they had to move, a child was born, and her husband lost his job. Yet as they looked back, they saw that all the children had matured and learned some very valuable things that would help them more in later life than a lot of book work.

Unknown said...

Dear Lydia
I love your blog so much!!!! I always excited of a new post. I learn many in reading you. Here in France we don't homeschool our children (it's forbidden children must go to school for age 6 since 16)
I'm a teatcher but don't work anymore just be a homekeeper (this word don't exist in french!!). I just would say that even my children go to the public school, I'm a happy stay at home mommy. So happy to say welcome to my children when they come home with good food (they never eat at school!!!) and to can help them in their work.
Be blessed my sweet friend.
Sandra a reader from France

Lydia said...

Sandra, It is lovely to have you here. Please check back often. I appreciate and value your comments

Lydia said...

Homeschooling in America is widespread. There are so many homeschoolers, many not registered as homeschoolers, that it is not possible to get an accurate count of how big this movement really is. It is a sign of a truly free country when parents can run their homes as they please and when children belong to the home, not to the state. Here in America there is a huge growth in home birth assisted by midwives (midwifery is also a growing occupation) is increasing, and in some states it is getting more popular to have a baby at home than in a hospital. In some states, caring for the aged at home is increasing, and homeschooling is becoming more "normal." HOme businesses are also increasing. This move from outsourcing everything to institutions, back to the home, creates a population that is self sufficient and able to produce their own economy. The internet has done a great deal to provide information and connections to those who want to be independent. Nowadays there is no great need for a huge institution to control everyone's education or everyone' business. There is information available to educate children and to build your own business at home. Books and teachers are no longer so rare that they can only be found in public schools or colleges. People can learn and be educated in many different ways, not just in a public institution.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see a post about how to get through a crisis as a homemaker.

A husband's under or unemployment is such a common problem these days due to the economy. These temporary problems often result in a permanent return to work for mothers and maybe it would help some stay home if they had some advice on how to weather such a crisis.

I am actually facing such a thing, though in our case it is simply going to result in a long delay between paychecks for a short time. Still, any advice on weathering a temporary crisis as a homemaker would be greatly appreciated. Especially helpful would be advice on how to stay in good spirits despite difficult circumstances!

And, I can never get enough of your thoughts on how to deal with criticism of homemakers, being steadfast at home, dressing nicely or manners.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

A response to Kristi's comment- I have a chronic illness that makes
keeping a homeschool schedule impossible, yet I have found several things to make homeschooling go really well and my children are learning a ton. These are the things I have found helpful.

#1- Make it your goal to complete two subjects everyday. Two isn't overwhelming at all. And continue this goal on weekends and year round. By daily completing two subjects you will develop discipline (to do a little everyday) and you won't overwhelm yourself. It is super easy to get overwhelmed thinking of doing all the subjects in one day. Some people shut down when they are overwhelmed and it is hard to do anything or get anything accomplished. (Think of a kitchen that has gotten out of control with dirty dishes..it is hard to even want to get started, but if you only have a few things at a time to do, it is super easy) Same idea with schooling...keep it simple! And by spreading the learning out and including weekends/summers (year round schooling) your children will get their school finished. Sundays you may want Bible to be one subject and possibly reading (reading outloud to be your second subject) or nature (going to the park). Other days you can rotate between math, science, social studies, language arts, spelling, etc. Just remember to do a little structured work each day.

#2-Make it your goal to have part of your children's learning structured and part of their learning unstructured. Structured learning is workbook type learning- math, language arts, spelling. Unstructured learning is learning that your children do without you assigning. For example, if my daughter spends 2 hours writing a story on her own I count this for school time. Or if my children read books on their own this is school time. If my children are interested in sitting outside and watching birds this is school time. If they ride their bikes or play basketball, this is school time (phy. ed). If my children help me bake cookies or bread, this is school time (home ec.). Any time learning is taking place is school time. Not just while doing workbooks!!! Unstructured learning is what lots of people call unschooling. However, I think it is still important to not allow all school to be unstructured. Your children still need to do math and grammar/language arts at a minimal for structured learning.

I hope some of these tips might help you. Really just remember to do a little each day and make sure your children spend their free time in learning pursuits (not watching tv idly or playing video games all day). They should be taking part in helping keep your home clean, playing outside, reading books, doing projects of their liking or interest, being creative, etc.

#3. Keep a daily log. I made a subject log and daily check the ones I accomplish with a short description of what we did for school or how my children spent time learning. This is so wonderful to look back on and see how if you are faithful to do small amounts of school each day, how much amazingly gets accomplished over a year!

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia,

Your blog is my top favorite and I thank you so much for your time in writing such encouraging articles! You are such a blessing! I would love some more articles on raising daughters, getting enough rest, and any on simple living in the home and organization/cleaning helps.

Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

In response to Kristi's comment, I forgot to say too- that by keeping a log is provides you accountability and encouragement. It only takes a few minutes a day to check off the subjects you did and to write down a summary of the learning that took place. And if you skip school for a few days and nothing is logged, it is an encouragement to get back on track. And it is also an encouragement to look back after a year and see how much learning took place and how many things you really do do! A log is a wonderful accountability tool and a great encouragement and a motivator- to have more wonderful things to log and write down. I hope these ideas might help you! You really can do it! And I agree with Lady Lydia not to keep sending them back to public schools.

Anonymous said...

a few topics come to mind-I have a few people i know struggle with depression and anxiety.I know that Gods Word has all our answers for living, but it is real to them. Also some women work minimal part time away from home or are just too busy-how do they balance the homekeeping spirit & being outside the home.Thank you for your work here on this blog.

Santie said...

Dear Lady Lydia
By now I think of you as a dear, faraway friend, and I turn to your blog whenever I feel weary and disheartened.
I fully realise what a privilege it is to be a full time homemaker even now that my children are grown, but I still need some encouragement now and then. I still need some reminding of a woman's worth at home. For this I turn here, take a breather with a cup of tea. Then I run a comb through my hair, I put a smile on my face, and something scrumptious in the oven. When my kitchen counters are clear, the table is laid for supper and some flowers adorn my window sill, the cobwebs in my mind are gone.
Thank you again!

Lydia said...

Kristi, you also need to know that the public schools are government schools, and the government is always looking for a way to put a stop to homeschooling. Every time you re-enroll your children from homeschool, they collect that data and use it against homeschooling. They are very powerful, and can and will use it to twist the arm of the federal government to force all children into public schools. Putting your kids in public school gives them fuel to carry out their agenda to indoctrinate the future generations into a socialist government.

Rightthinker said...

Amen on your public school commentary, LadyLydia!

I look forward to reading any posts on these topics, in the future.

God Bless!

Anonymous said...

A local school superintendent told a local meeting in my town last year that 25% of all children are now being schooled in a setting other than public schools. He said he never thought he'd see the day he would say that. That tells me there are a lot of parents who are unhappy with public schools, whatever other choice they are making.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lydia,
As a reader of your blog for years, I have found much encouragement and inspiration along the way.

I would appreciate reading about older women and what their focus needs to be now that the adult children are no longer at home. The focus has been our children and homeschooling for so long, and there is a void now and it can be lonely at times.

I am still a full-time wife and homemaker, for which I am thankful. My husband's job keeps him very busy and he often has to go on trips for at least a week or more at a time.

At this time I don't really have any personal connections with women in my area, so I appreciate being able to visit at your blog.

Thank you,

Lydia said...

for homeschool questions go here:


Michelle said...

I too love your blog.

When commenting about homeschooling, you mentioned college and home businesses and how we can direct our own education. We are not preventing our children from going to college, but right now none of them are planning on it. We feel that in many ways college is a broken system. I would love you to talk more about the subject of daughters and sons going to college. Some of my homeschooling friends would like their daughters to get a college degree, because in some states you have to have a certain number of years of education above what you are teaching at home. And they want to be prepared in case the law becomes state wide. What do you suggest?

Continue bringing us good suggestions on how to raise our daughters too.

Anonymous said...

On a lighter note, I'd like to see some posts about sewing projects that are one step up from beginner level. I could use some ideas for frugal family meals and ideas for ways a homemaker can vary her routine so it does not get stale. I also wonder if you have any knitting patterns to share.

It's always nice to vary posts about serious matters with those about pratical day to day things and even some recreational ideas.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia,

Thank you so much for your encouragement, Lady Lydia. I agree with you wholeheartedly about the state of the public schools. Funny thing is, even though we are at home, we are using an online PUBLIC SCHOOL curriculum option. A significant part of my frustration is because of the inflexibility of this school-at-home option. Instead of being a homeschooler, I am forced to be a public school teacher for both a first grader and a kindergartener!

Anonymous at 7:21am, I really appreciated your thoughful suggestions. I am DEFINITELY one of those people who gets overwhelmed if the task looks too large. Or has become insurmountable. I loved your idea to do only 2 subjects a day every day and to keep a log. That isn't possible in my current situation, but I can see how well it would work and plan on implementing it as soon as possible.

That being said, I've been doing some soul searching and Bible reading. I've been looking up verses with the words "slothful" and "diligence" and it is VERY CLEAR that such things as laziness are not acceptable "personality traits" but are sins. Now that is encouraging because I know the King of Kings who died on a cross to save me from those exact sins. And that gives me hope!

I have also spoken with my husband on this subject and while he has expressed his doubt in my abilities- I can't even keep the house clean and the laundry done, he has also said that he would MUCH RATHER me stay home and homeschool rather than pursue a degree and ship our children off.

Thank you Lady Lydia for being a candle in my darkness. I am extremely grateful.


Anonymous said...

It is wonderful that you have the support of your husband.

Don't expect to keep an immaculate house, set small cleaning goals to accomplish every day. I remember when my children were small and I had set my goals much too high and felt so defeated much of the time. Keep your expectations at a reasonable level.

Your children are so young. They really don't need very much structured learning right now. Find some good books to read to them and read, read, read. A phonics curriculum, a little structured math every day, take nature walks and encourage them to make some simple drawings. One book that was a great inspiration to me was "A Charlotte Mason Companion" by Karen Andreola. Relax and enjoy while they are young.

I know, it's hard to get out of that "public school" mindset, but you can do it!


Anonymous said...

I would like to see posts about cheap, healthy meals. Posts about grocery budgeting would be helpful. What tips do you have, do you coupon, etc...?

Also, and this might be odd, a post about shoes. I have a horrible bunion. I need good shoe advice. And I interested in knowing if anyone else here has foot troubles.

Anonymous said...

What an encouraging post today...& such uplifting & friendly comments from so many.

I'm not a homeschooler, myself, but I do want to encourage those who've come here to talk about it to face their challenges to do so with a happy, confident heart. I believe their children will reap the benefits of their persistence. There have been times that I wished I'd found out about homeschooling while my children were still young, & not because I have so many complaints about our school system here. Had I educated our children myself when they were little, I feel pretty confident I could be alright with it now. And, if I had it to do over again, I'm not entirely sure I'd let the government schools have my children, based on what I read & hear about, that is, the overall leaning of the school culture at large. So...hold fast, those of you that have designated yourselves the family educator! :o)

May I offer a word to Anon. 4:53 a.m.? For awhile it seemed as though my husband & I were going from one crisis to another. Always something. Depression can set in very quickly if you are not careful. You must be determined in your actions to dress in something besides sloppy clothing, even if you don't feel like making the effort. Make your bed each morning. Clean something. Call someone to see how THEY are doing (showing an interest in others will help keep you from feeling sorry for yourself). Do you make soup? Having some simmering on the stove will give you a nice, uncomplicated meal at the end of the day (for not very much money, I might add), & that way you can be available to your husband when he needs you to listen to him about various things on his mind. Set a pretty table, no matter the meal. That can be such a spirit-booster. If you have children at home yet, make sure they are required to sit up straight & chew with their mouths closed. The child of a poor man can do these things just as easily as can the child of a wealthy man. In this, there should be no difference. Make yourself go outside every day, even if it's just to the mailbox.

I do believe these things, while seemingly so small, will go quite a ways toward keeping depression at bay, & help your family ride out the tougher times. God's blessings!


Lydia said...

I hope you'll print out Brenda's perfect advice!!

Lydia said...

The niceties of manners and ritutals of the home is what gives the family stability and a feeling or normalcy. You can have a job loss, a move, a tragedy, people attempting to disrupt your family, etc. and these things like bathing, dressing up, preparing food and arranging it nicely on the plate, neatness, cleanliness, good housekeeping, interior arrangement and decor, etc. can keep a feeling of peace. Others will not even know the troubles you have because all they will detect is the peace of God in your home.

Mary said...

I am in this same boat, after years of homeschooling, I'm having some difficulty with the transition from Mom/teacher 24/7 to .....? My husband and I are enjoying time together, but he works lots too. It would be helpful to read about how to transition and also how to back away from having the children as the center of all activity. They are busy in their own activities, the last thing I want to be is a busybody mom.

Anonymous said...

I'm really grateful for all your postings. Thanks for tireless your work. I'd like to read even more concerning caring for our husbands especially once the busy-ness of raring a family has passed.

Anonymous said...

I love you blog. I am also interested in some suggestions on shoes as well. I wear skirts a lot and I am always chasing after my 2 boys. I am having the hardest time finding comfortable and affordable shoes that can accommedate me. Most shoes now a days look like something a loose woman would wear.

Anonymous said...

Your eggs are so pretty....glad you have chickens which I did not know...they are fun too.
Lynn M

Barbara Neubeck said...

Hi Lady Lydia,
I love the coloured buckets and the canning jars. They do make lovely storage containers
God Bless
Barb from Australia

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia,
Your blog is such an inspiration and a pleasure to me, especially in the past few months. Over the last 18 months, my husband and 8yo daughter and I have made major lifestyle changes, and the going has been really rough much of the time! Your posts help me keep focused on what is important in life, and encourage me to keep pressing on.

In response to your request for future posting ideas, here is my "list" :)

~any Godly wisdom you can offer on overcoming character defects, establishing good and healthy habits to replace bad ones, etc. How to connect with God to be an overcomer of sin in our lives.
~Ideas for how we can set up "markers" in our lives for our children (and theirs) like Joshua did when the children of Israel passed over the Jordan, markers that commemorate important spiritual events in our lives.
~How to teach ourselves (and our children) proper manners and etiquette, proper table settings, etc. I wasnt taught well and feel uncomfortable when attending a formal dinner or tea, and I would like to do a better job with my daughter.
~How to begin making music with our children in the home, as in evening singing time, where the family gathers on the porch after a long hard day and sing and play instruments together. How to choose an instrument for yourself to play, how to choose the right instrument for a child, how to develop one's voice.
~Father's Day gifts, ways to love and encourage our husbands; teaching our daughters to love and honor their daddies in preparation for doing the same for their future husbands.
~How to beat the heat without air conditioning. How did the victorians and pioneers do it?
~How to plan ahead like the pioneers did, as they raised and preserved food for a year in advance; they had to grow cotton and flax and raise and sheer sheep for raw materials to spin and weave/knit to make their own clothing...how do we who return to an agrarian lifestyle learn to plan ahead, when we are used to running to Walmart every week for any little thing? :)

I also welcome more of your postings on things like outdoor tent rooms, sewing beautiful clothing and accessories, paper crafts of any kind, making and taking tea (healthy tea time recipes!), how to win at the mental game of choosing happiness and contentment, nurturing ourselves as homemakers so we can do an even better job caring for our families, churches and communities, how to get our work done in a timely manner so we can rest, beautiful art and artists, uplifting music (I love it when you post sheet music too!).....

Thank you so much for so generously sharing your creativity, time, and wisdom with us!

Mrs. C

Anonymous said...

I would also like to offer a word of encouragement to Kristi~I was actually encouraged to read her postings, as I have been struggling with many of the same issues recently. It is nice to know one is not alone!

I too was not taught many of the life skills and character traits needed for a successful life, (and I just turned 50!)

Five months ago we sold our home and moved to another state to care for my aging parents. We gave up a home we have spent the past 20 years remodeling, as well as our whole life that we had created for ourselves, moving from a suburb in a state we loved to a farm in a state we don't love so much, :). It has been a difficult transition, as we had to move in with my 85yo father (my mother is in a local nursing home) until we could repair our new residence which is a 38' 5th wheel. We just partially moved into it this week.

My parents had become hoarders, and my dad refuses to let things go, so there literally was no room in my dad's house for us, we three have been sharing half of a 9x12 bedroom. There have been many other challenges too, and our lives have been very chaotic.

Needless to say, with preparing to move, moving, and trying to adjust to our new living situation, the past 18 months have been frustrating in the homeschooling department. In desperation I went to the library a few weeks ago, and happened upon a book entitled "REAL Home School" by Kathy Banks. It has been such a blessing, and I hope you can find a copy to read. It describes almost exactly what a couple of other commenters above expressed about how to homeschool. Once I started keeping a log of everything we did each day, I began to realize my daughter is learning interesting things and valuable skills all the time. I WOULD like to have more structure in our learning as I believe learning to live on a schedule and within time constraints is a very valuable life skill in our American Society, and I am working toward that goal. But I am so grateful to have learned that much valuable learning occurs outside of the "structure" as well. I am still struggling to break out of the mentality that I have to "do school" for my daughter the way I was taught, growing up in "school."

Something else that has been a great help to me over the years is the skills I learned from Flylady.com. I had a mother who was (is) a wonderful person but who was not skilled herself in keeping a house clean, and, not being "born organized" myself, it has been a lifelong struggle for me. I learned much from Flylady that has helped!

Thank you, Lady Lydia, for providing a safe haven for commenting! It is wonderful to have a place where we can come to encourage one another. I remember a few years ago when you were having trouble with internet trolling, and I am so proud of the way you handled the situation and have created this place for us to come and share.

Blessings to all, Mrs. C.

Anonymous said...

I like all the colors in your pictures. You really have a knack for color coordination.

Anonymous said...

Kristi, each day you might pray for God's vision and help to train your children for Him.

Something I think would help would be for you to enroll your children in tutorials in English and math, where they meet online once a week with a teacher and class. It's expensive but cheaper than Christian school. You will still need to make sure they do their work each day in preparation for the weekly class, but knowing there is the weekly class to be accountable to should help.

I saw that Memoria Press now has classes for English composition starting in fourth grade. Scroll down on the link:


If that would be financially too difficult, then consider paying a teacher who is a Christian, perhaps a retired teacher, to meet with you and your children once a week to go over their week's work. I used to have a teacher read my children's compositions and it gave them an audience besides me. I think it would help you if you had some kind of weekly accountability.

If you use textbooks like Rod and Staff for English and math (we used them), and perhaps spelling, it helps with moving along at a steady pace, one lesson a day. I noticed for their curriculum packages Memoria Press is using Rod and Staff math for K-6th and R&S English for 4th-6th. In the elementary grades children can learn a good bit about history and science from reading books and magazines on those areas.

Anita at Cedar Hill said...

I am really enjoying looking at the posts on your blog. Wow you have hens!! And I love what you did with the trays to make each one look so different with the fabric.