donderdag 31 januari 2013

Women, Know Your Limits!


Please don't throw stones at me:) I went to the univeristy myself and even though I'm (unfortunately) older than 25, I still haven't grown a beard!!!! I do find the video hilarious, though. And if you liked that one, you'll probably turn a sympathetic ear to their sincere plea not to drive (It isn't the drawing room, my dear!), and to the advice on how to land a rich husband (warning: the vid has some ungentlemanly language in it:). As it's often the case with the British, it's rather difficult to say whether those videos are fighting the stereotypes or enforcing them, which doesn't make them less funny. Just don't forget to let your natural sweetness shine through when you are invited to the next dinner party!

dinsdag 29 januari 2013

The Career Of A Domestic Goddess, Part2

In my previous post on this topic, I mentioned that Mrs Andelin talks about balancing priorities in the daily life of a housewife. She also gives us an example of a priority list, where feminine appearance occupies the top position. If you stay home, it's easy to let yourself go, especially nowadays, when there is little pressure to dress and look well. It's interesting, that Helen devotes a whole chapter to the proper feminine appearance, where she states the following thing: "She (the feminine woman) doesn't neglect her hair, face, figure or clothes. She looks as pretty as she can at all times." (Fascinating Womanhood, p248, Bantam Books, 1992).

Second on the priority list is providing regular meals on time, and then comes the clean house, washing, ironing, shopping etc. Mrs Andelin adds that if there is an infant in the family, he will require the top priority, and the care of small children will be placed high on the list, too, while further in the chapter she talks in more detail about food preparation and stresses how important meals are to both husbands and children: "Of all domestic tasks other than the care of little children, the most urgent is feeding the family. Other things can wait." (F.W. p.236).

The modern tendency is to go for quick and easy meals, and Helen criticises it in her book, urging the women to return back to the kitchen. To organize the housewife's work properly, she suggests keeping lists of work and commitments and arranging them on a schedule, so that there is a specific time for everything. I have written about the importance of schedules and routines before, and included some helpful links in that post.

Mrs Andelin suggests you use a calendar notebook for better organization. She also recommends avoiding such time wasters as lengthy phone conversations, watching TV for hours on end, excess sewing and reading, or hanging in the shopping malls. Of course, now we have internet as well. In other words, treat your homemaking as you would any other worthy occupation and be willing to go above and beyond the call of duty, and you will not only succeed as a Domestic Goddess but enjoy your work as well.

And since we are talking about homemaking today, you'll probably be interested in this article discussing whether a housewife is a parasite. Happy homemaking!


maandag 28 januari 2013

Tosca

Let's talk opera today. Tosca is one of my favourites, it's full of dark drama and everybody dies in the end, what's not to like:) I found a cartoon on YouTube which sums up the whole story pretty well:



Don't watch it before going to bed as it's kinda scary, though in my opinion, the Angel of Death was rather a nice touch:) As with all operas, there have been numerous productions, I personally like this one with Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorgiu.

What I find interesting about this particular story, is that despite its political angle, the conflict essentially comes down to the old tribal warfare, as in kill the enemy, take his woman sort of thing, except that it doesn't work out so well for Scarpia in the end.

Though both men die, Mario is taken out by a group of men, while Scarpia, just as evil Hagen in The Song Of Nibelungs, dies by the hand of a woman, which is a shameful death for one of the warrior class (and after all, that's what the European aristocracy actually was), so for Scarpia there will be no Valhalla...

zondag 27 januari 2013

Winter Fun



King Winter is gone, today we have seen the last of him. It was raining the whole morning, the snow nearly disappeared, and according to the weather forecast, the temperature will rise to +10*C. I thoroughly enjoyed those two weeks, but I don't regret that the cold weather is over. For one thing, the European trade practically stopped, and what is worse, it's darn difficult to feel glamorous while wearing woolen stockings!

Last Saturday we went to the zoo, where the dearest husband took some (actually, a whole lot) pictures of fluffy and not-so-fluffy animals in the snow. Here is the example of fluffy:

And not-so-fluffy:


We also met some really weird birds:


Practising what seemed to be their variant of arm-wrestling

A kangaroo in the snow is not something what you see every day:

Yesterday the weather was still cold and it was snowing so we took our last chance to enjoy winter and went to a park where we watched people skating on the lake.


The ice this winter wasn't great so we decided not to do it, but I tried my luck on the sled and went down the hill not once, but twice, in the most unladylike fashion.

It was an old broken thing I found in the bushes but at that moment I hardly cared. And now the snow is gone, and we probably have to wait another year to see it again. Well, we always can look at the pictures...

vrijdag 25 januari 2013

The Career Of A Domestic Goddess

What exactly is a Domestic Goddess? Fascinating Womanhood has a whole chapter dedicated to her in which Mrs Andelin does a really good job in covering the responsibilities of a housewife. It's especially helpful for modern readers, since there seems be to be some confusion about what does a homemaker actually do with her time at home (apart from eating bonbons on the couch, that is).

According to Mrs Andelin, homemaking is a career, and one of utmost importance, no less. A Domestic Goddess is a woman who embraces her career in the home and tries to achieve excellence in it. This lady's home is neat and tidy, her children are well-behaved, her cooking is delicious and her husband is the happiest man in town.

The chapter starts with describing the qualities of such a woman, and points out that to become a Domestic Goddess, you have to be skilled in traditional feminine arts, such as cooking or interior decorating, and be a successful manager of the home. To be a good manager, one needs to be able to balance various responsibilities, such as taking care of the house, and of the children, and choose what is the most important thing to do at the moment.

Mrs Andelin suggests that a housewife dresses up for her job, preferably in a housedress (a comfortable and pretty cotton dress worn with an apron). She points out that homemaking ultimately is a matter of character, and that a woman who fails in doing her domestic duties, shows a poor character as well. The housewife ought to have a keen sense of responsibility for her job in the home, not giving in to temptation to spend hours on the phone or watching TV, or just lazing around. If she is an efficient homemaker, she'll be able to also find time for pursuing her hobbies or helping others in their need.

The Domestic Goddess is also a good mother who delights in bearing and raising children. Her home is warm and happy and she radiates joy around, or, as the book states: "This warm presense is what every man needs when he returns from work, and what every child needs when he returns from school. The home should be their refuge, their source of comfort, understanding, and love." (p.229, Bantam books, ed. of 1992).

P.S. Here is an interesting perspective on women's work, while this blog post points out the duties of husbands and wives, according to the Catechism of Trent, and this article discusses what is true freedom for women. In publishing those links, I feel the need to refer you to the obligatory disclaimer.

woensdag 23 januari 2013

Winter Days

It's still quite cold over here, the temperatures at night fall to record lows,  but during the day the sun is shining making everything look bright and cheerful.

I have been working on my knitting, as I still hope I'll be able to finish my new project, a long skirt in time to wear it this season. Unfortunately, not much came out of it today, as somebody lent me the fifth season of I Love Lucy.

The cat stubbornly goes out in the middle of the night, when it's freezing the most, and then spends his days recuperating on the couch.

Because of the weather, I thought it a good idea to make Swedish meatballs for dinner. I had them served with the cranberry compote.They were a huge success and we have enough for tomorrow as well.

And now I'm off to watch more Lucy, so till the next time...

dinsdag 22 januari 2013

The Four Feathers

The Four Feathers, written by A. Mason, is a fine example of British  Victorian literature (even though it was published after Queen Victoria's death). It is a story of a young man by the name of Harry Feversham, who resigns his officer commission after he learns that his regiment is going to be sent to war in Sudan. Consequently, three of his colleagues send him each a white feather as an accusation of cowardice.

When his fiancee, Ethne, hears the story, she adds her own white feather to three others, and breaks the engagement. Harry's father, General Feversham, being a very proud man, kicks him out of the house. Harry, realising that his life is essentially ruined, takes a decision to do everything humanly possible to restore his lost honour, or die in an attempt, and travels to Sudan, where he disguises himself as a native and waits for an opportunity to prove to his friends that they misjudged him.

The novel is a fine illustration of an old saying, that a woman is, but a man has to become, as Harry has to undergo humiliation, torture, beatings and slavery and to overcome his fear for death to finally be able to restore his self respect and to get the girl. Just like in many similar Victorian adventure stories, honour is the main theme of the book.

It is well-written, and only occasionally boring to modern taste, as it concentrates more on human emotion than on action. I started reading it on Project Gutenberg, but as I happen to hate reading books from the monitor,  I found another option and listened to the LibriVox audio book instead. Another advantage of listening to books is that you can combine it with other activities, such as knitting or cleaning a cupboard.

There have been several film adaptations, the latest one from 2002, but according to this Wiki article, it takes a revisionist stand on the original topics of the novel, whatever it means, so I decided not to bother watching it. I liked the 1939 version which can be watched over here, but then I am a known freak for retro movies. The film lacks all the modern "special effects" stuff, but it is in colour, and quite well filmed.

It does change the story line somewhat, simplifying certain things and concentrating more on the adventure than on romance, nevertheless, I enjoyed it. Probably the best phrase of the film was: "There is no place in England for a coward." In short, if you like Victorian literature and everything connected with Victorian Britain, you'll like both the film and the book.

maandag 21 januari 2013

Winter


Antonio Vivaldi was an Italian Baroque composer born in Venice. He was baptised by the midwife right after his birth due to his weak health, and suffered from asthma his whole life. Antonio was the sixth child of a barber turned violinist, and it was his father who taught him to play the instrument.

At the age of fifteen, Antonio began a course of studies to prepare himself for a career in church, and he was ordained at the age of 25. Due to his health problems he was relieved of his duty to say the Mass, and was sent to work in a state-sponsored orphanage teaching girls to play violin, writing a lot of music for their orchestra and choir.

He also wrote many operas and became famous abroad, so that he was invited to Vienna by the emperor, who unfortunately died very soon afterwards, leaving Vivaldi in a strange city, without any means, which led to the composer's death at the age of 63 from an infection.

After Antonio's death, his music became largely forgotten, until its rediscovery in the early XXth century. His most famous work is The Four Seasons. If you'd like to know more about him, read the Wiki article here.

zondag 20 januari 2013

How To Become A Housewife

There are basically two things necessary to become a housewife: the desire to do so and a husband capable of providing a sufficient income to live upon. Now what exactly is a sufficient income, everyone decides for himself, but I think we could find some guidelines as to what to look for. Here again, "Fascinating Womanhood" by Helen Andelin can be helpful. It actually has a chapter entitled "The Provider", where she discusses the concept at length.

After the introduction, where Mrs Andelin states that both Holy Scriptures and tradition teach us that a man has a duty to provide for his family, she goes on to discuss the details of what has become known as the traditional family arrangement, with a breadwinning man and a homemaker wife. In one of the sub-chapters Mrs Andelin quotes from her husband's book "Man Of Steel And Velvet", which I haven't read, on what exactly a man is obliged to provide:

"...the man should provide the necessities. This means food, clothing, and a shelter, plus a few comforts and conveniences...Although a man has a sacred and binding obligation to provide the necessities, he is under no such obligation to provide the luxuries..." (pp. 137-138, ed. of 1992, Bantam Books).

If as a woman you want to be a homemaker it's extremely unwise to marry a man who can't hold down a job.

The wife, on the other hand, has financial responsibilities of her own, which are discussed in the next chapter called "Family Finances". She has to practise thrift and do everything possible to reduce expenses, to cooperate with her husband's plans, and to provide peaceful family life so that the husband can fully concentrate on earning the living.

I'd like to end the post with this quotation: "You can measure your standard of living, not so much by your income as by how well you manage the money." (p.146), which is essentially true.

P.S. Here  you can read some ideas on how to reduce expenses while living on one income, while this article suggests that women should quit their jobs and devote their skills to supporting their husbands' careers, who then, in turn, will be able to earn more money to support the household.











vrijdag 18 januari 2013

Some Interesting Links

Before I post them I feel the need to put an obligatory disclaimer, saying that my linking to certain blogs doesn't necessarily mean that I agree with everything on those blogs, it's merely that I found some articles to be of interest. So here it comes:

Mercy And Chivalry

Consensual Parenting: The Latest In Child Abuse

My Musings About The Movie Titanic

Fun For Your Family: Heavenly Home Haven

The Uniquely Anti-modern Religion

And for a bit of humour, check this one:

Star Wars: Republican Incompetence In Space

donderdag 17 januari 2013

Cranberry Bars And Other Good Things In Life

Cranberry bars taste good and are very easy to make. The only problem is that you actually need cranberries to make them which are only sold over here before Christmas, but last year I managed not to forget to buy two packages of them as cranberries can be kept in the freezer for quite some time. The recipe comes from an American cooking magazine which someone sent me years ago. I had to adjust it because it calls for walnuts which I didn't have at the moment and anyway, I don't care for them, either.

You first make the filling, for which you need 3/4c sugar,1/2c water, 2c cranberries (fresh or frozen), 1/4c orange juice, 1tbsp butter or margarine, 1/2tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp salt (you can also add 1 tbsp of grated orange peel for better taste). First you bring sugar and water to a boil, then you add cranberries and cook them till they pop, which will take about 5 min. At this moment, you add orange juice, butter, cinnamon and salt and cook everything 5 min longer, so that the mixture thickens. (When it's ready, you can stir in 1c of chopped walnuts if you choose to). Set aside to cool and make the crust.

For the crust, you combine 2c flour and 1/4tsp salt, then cut in butter or margarine, or a mixture of both, 1 1/4c in total. Add to this 1c sugar and 3c quick-cooking oats, mix everything well and spoon half of it into an ungreased 13in.x9in.x2in. pan, patting firmly. Spread the filling over it, then top with remaining crust mixture. Bake at 400*F for 30-35 min. Here is the end result:





Encouraged by my culinary successes of late, I decided today to make noodles, which were a great hit. Why is it that homemade food always tastes better?

They are quick and easy to make, and cost less than the supermarket equivalent Here is how you make them:

You will need 1 beaten egg, 2-4tbsp milk, 1/2tsp salt +1c flour to make the dough. Roll it out very thin and let stand for 20 min. Roll it up loosely and cut into 1/4in. wide slices, unroll the noodles, spread them and let dry for about 2 hours. Drop into boiling water and cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Makes 2 portions. Bon appetite!


woensdag 16 januari 2013

News From The Home Front

I liked one of the comments on this post, which basically states that we don't need the press any more, since bloggers broadcast their own versions of news, so here it comes: the news report from my corner of Northern Europe.

We've got a lot of snow, and the temperature stays below zero. Snow started falling on Monday, and on Tuesday morning there were enormous traffic jams with a total length of one thousand kilometers. Monday evening we went outside and had a great time throwing snowballs at each other and in general, behaving in the most childish fashion. Here is a picture of myself, braving the blizzard:

It was taken with my husband's mobile, and I happen to find it rather artistically done, if somewhat unclear, so here is one more:

If the life gives you lemons, you make...lemon curd. While searching for something in my fridge, I stumbled upon a net of lemons, which I somehow managed to forget that I had bought, so I promptly used four of them for lemon curd, following the recipe from the book "If Teacups Could Talk" by Emilie Barnes, which seems to be different from the one I found on the net, the chief difference being the amount of sugar used (my book calls for two cups instead of one), and using four whole eggs instead of six egg yolks.

Anyway it was a success and for now my daily breakfast consists of one toast with lemon curd and one with self-made apple jam, which I still have a lot of.

Tonight it was very cold and the cat finally decided to stay home only to wake us up with his insane screaming about five a.m., demanding to be let outside. He then came home at about eight in the morning and pretended that nothing happened.

My housekeeper came today and together we did a lot of cleaning and afterwards I did even more cleaning and then decided to make something special for lunch so I baked little fluffy pancakes which we call three-in-the-pan, they smelled so nicely that I couldn't help eating a couple. There was still enough left for the dessert and for lunch till the end of the week. The gingerbread house has been nearly eaten up, though it was so much that I had to share it with my friend and her family. Since we are still suffering from the consequences of the flu, I decided to make something light for dinner and having one more lemon left, chose for an Italian recipe of lemon soup with tortellini, which  turned out to be too sour to my taste. All in all, things are getting back to normal. Hopefully, tomorrow I'll be able to do all the necessary paperwork and may be finally find some time for knitting. And that's about all the important news we have had so far so I'm off to drinking tea with homemade cranberry bars which I'll try to blog about tomorrow!

maandag 14 januari 2013

Positive Monday

So a new working week has begun, the one when I will hopefully finally be able to restore my household to pre-holiday condition. There is still some paperwork to be done, the Christmas cards to be arranged neatly, some extra cleaning to be performed etc etc.

It's snowing outside. If it keeps freezing we can go skating on Saturday. So far we have had snow only once this winter and I missed it. The return of winter brings me in a positive mood, so that for today I chose this piece of music:

Turkish March by Mozart



You'll probably remember it was played by Caroline Bingley in the 1985 BBC version of "Pride and Prejudice."

Sometimes people just need to lighten up a bit. It's easy to concentrate on world problems and to fall for the Doomsday predictions, when ít's mostly little things in life which matter, so here are some more YouTube clips to make you smile:

A Fat Cat Comes Home And Gets Stuck

A Fat Cat Makes Himself Comfortable In A Box

And this very touching one makes you want to get a dog:

A Dog Welcomes Home Her Soldier

Have a nice Monday!

zondag 13 januari 2013

Sunday At Home

Allow me to introduce my cat, Frodo:

Frodo is a large tomcat who is nearly five years old. He comes from aristocratic parents with a pedigree, but his behaviour is anything but genteel. Actually, we should have called him Grishnakh instead, since Frodo in the book had rather pacifistic inclinations. Our Frodo's chief hobbies are fighting with other cats and eating, in this order. He spends his nights outside, and only comes home to eat and sleep, and to heal from his wounds. As for eating, he'll eat anything which distantly reminds food. He tries to eat matches and dry spaghetti, and is known to chew on hay, meant for my guinea pig. By some strange reason, he seems to be especially fond of cookies.

Today we finally got some nice winter weather, but despite the temperatures falling below the freezing point, the cat still went out at night. In the mornings he always sits in front of the house, waiting for us to open the door and let him in, and so here he is, sunbathing in the dining-room:


Personally I think he adds to the coziness of our home and matches my carpets well:) He probably thinks the same thing about us, but with cats, you never know.


vrijdag 11 januari 2013

The Mark Of Zorro

Zorro is a character which probably needs no introduction, but I still consulted Wikipedia and found out that Zorro was a creation of an American author by the name of Johnston McCulley and was likely based on several historical characters, and whose direct literary predecessor was Sir Percy Blakeney from the Scarlet Pimpernel. There have been numerous adaptations of the story, both in Europe and the USA. I think that all of us have watched the one with Antonio Banderas from 1998.

Since I'm a retro fan, the film I 'd like to talk about is the 1940s version called The Mark Of Zorro. There were both black-and-white and colour versions, the black-and-white one can be watched on YouTube:

The Mark Of Zorro

It is a nice film, and also a very funny one, and even my husband who normally dislikes old movies, enjoyed it. Zorro is played by Tyrone Power, who in my opinion, did a great job. Linda Darnell plays the wicked governor's niece who Zorro falls in love with, and Basil Rathbone co-stars as the governor's chief henchman, Captain Esteban (not sure how to spell his name properly). There is an epic swordfight in the movie between the two of them, but unfortunately I couldn't find a separate video of it on YouTube. If you are a fan of the swashbuckling genre and old-fashioned romance, then it is a film for you.

donderdag 10 januari 2013

Good Character

"Fascinating Womanhood" by Helen Andelin is the book some people love to hate, yet I have found that it can be very helpful. Of course, like other books, it should be taken with a grain of salt, nevertheless, it does contain some good advice and timeless wisdom. In one of the chapters, Mrs Andelin discusses what qualities constitute a good character. I thought it a good idea to write a series of posts discussing each of them with my take on the issue.

The author starts with self-control, a quality which, unfortunately too many people nowadays totally lack. The dictionary defines self-control as "control over one's feelings" or "the power to hold back the expression of strong feelings" (Longman Dictionary of English Language and Culture, the edition of 1992). Webster's Encyclopedic Dictionary of the English Language (unabridged, the ed. of 1996) adds actions to feelings: "self-control (is) control or restraint of oneself or one's actions, feelings, etc"; and gives us a list of synonims: self-discipline, self-restraint, willpower, levelheadedness.

For the purposes of this post, I'll discuss control of one's feelings and one's actions separately. Control of one's feelings or self-restraint is what the British used to call "keeping a stiff upper lip", not letting it all hang out. Of course, we live in the times of reality TV in which people don't feel ashamed to tell the most private things about themselves to total strangers, and drag their family name through dirt by publicly complaining and even writing books dissing their close relatives and even parents. Especially in the case of parents, it breaks the commandment to honour your father and your mother. Also there are some things which should be kept private.

Literature gives us a good example of both self-restraint and the lack of it in Jane Austen's novel "Sense and Sensibility" where Elinor hides her feelings and keeps on doing what has to be done, while another sister, Marianne causes herself and others around her a lot of problems and nearly dies due to inability of practising self-control. In the beginning of the story, when the girls' father dies, Mrs Dashwood and Marianne keep on grieving and leave the management of family affairs to Elinor, while secretly thinking that she must be cold and insensitive, because she doesn't spend her days wallowing in misery and self-pity.

Helen Andelin states that self-control is necessary to manage one's life successfully, "to keep commitments, manage time and money, control thoughts and words, subdue appetites, school feelings, overcome temptations, and reach goals." (p. 207, the ed. of 1992 by Bantam Books). You can't live a successful life when you go all to pieces if something happens and let your emotions and feelings rule you. A person's actions should not be based on feelings alone, but rather on doing what is right and what should be done, which leads me to the second point: control of one's actions.

To control one's actions one should possess sufficient willpower, which can be trained. The book gives some suggestions on how to do it, mentioning prayer and fasting, demanding quotas of oneself and doing something unpleasant or difficult every day. I did a search on the internet and found the following article:

How To Strengthen Willpower

Now the website above is obviously geared to men, but I think their suggestions can be helpful for anyone. After all, the woman at home needs a strong willpower to be able to function properly and to fulfill all her duties, without an overseer telling her what to do. Being a housewife is comparable to being self-employed, and in the age of broadband internet there are various temptations and distractions present in your very own home. Which reminds me that I must be off making dinner! So till the next time...

woensdag 9 januari 2013

Loki

I am still reading Nordic Myths and yesterday came to the chapter on Loki, who was a very interesting character. Originally he was considered the personification of fire and the spirit of life, later he was portrayed as a devil, and the king of lies and slander. Loki was married three times, his second secret marriage was to a very ugly giantess by whom he got three monsters as his children: Hel, the goddess of death, the terrible snake Iormungandr and the grisly wolf Fenris. His love adventures didn't actually stop at that, as the story tells us that he once turned himself into a mare and seduced the horse called Svadilfare by whom he got an eight-legged stallion called Sleipnir which became the favourite horse of Odin (those Vikings sure had perverted imaginations:).

In the book Loki's character is compared to that of Thor who is always serious in all his pursuits, while Loki sees the whole world as a joke and this habitual mocking of everything finally brings him on the wrong path. He loses all his love for goodness and becomes self-centered and evil. In the end, the gods tire of his mischief and punish him terribly, making one of his sons out of his third marriage kill the other one, then binding Loki with ropes, made out of his dead son's intestines. Later the ropes are turned into chains and thus Loki has to wait till Ragnarok when he will be finally set free to take part in the last battle and to be slain by Heimdall, one of Odin's numerous sons (whom Odin got from nine giant women simultaneously - don't ask me how it was possible!). 

As if this was not enough, a snake is put above Loki's head whose poison keeps dripping onto the unfortunate god's forehead causing him to swear and convulse in his chains (which, according to the myths is the actual cause of earthquakes). Here, however, Loki's third wife Sigyn comes into picture. She takes a cup and holds it above her husband's head and thus collects all the poison into it, which she faithfully keeps doing day and night, without rest or sleep, only going away to empty the cup.

There are more examples of faithful women in literature, such as Penelope who waited for Odysseus for about twenty years, but her husband, outside of little philandering was essentially a virtuous man, while the same certainly can't be said about Loki. There are lots of women who stay faithful to good husbands, but would you stay faithful to such a one as him?

dinsdag 8 januari 2013

Housework Is Important

Housework has a bad reputation these days. Supposedly it is drudgery, and something to be avoided at all costs. In real life though, you'll have to do at least some housework, if you don't want to live in a pigsty. As a housewife, I want my home to be clean, organized and cosy. I found out that having a schedule can be very helpful, as one does certain activities on certain days, so that it becomes a routine. You can then alternate the days with more and less intensive workloads. If there are schoolchildren in the family, the schedule has to be built around their school times, and it's probably better not to do too much during vacations, so there is more free time to do nice things with your kids. Just like any other job, the one of a housewife needs a lot of planning. If you have domestic help, it's easier if you decide beforehand what she is going to do next time she comes (unless she is a live-in or somebody who is present in your household the whole week, which is a different story). Ideally, the workload should be divided in such a way, that the housewife has some time during the day which she can devote to creative hobbies like reading or knitting, or for a friendly visit to the neighbour lady.

Here are some helpful resources:

Routines Can Relieve Stress

A Schedule Example

A Day In The Life Of A Housewife Part1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

The links above are meant as a suggestion, since every household is different, what's important though is to remember, that the housewife's job is essential to the well-being of her family, however small it may be, because she creates order out of chaos. And that is a very satisfying experience.

maandag 7 januari 2013

O Fortuna

Today being Monday, it's time for another classical music post, so here it is: O Fortuna, from Carmina Burana by Carl Orff:




I've seen it performed live but not by Andre Rieu. Here is the variant with lyrics in Latin, English and German. I hope you'll enjoy it just as much as I do.

zondag 6 januari 2013

The Spirit Of Man



There must be something worth living for
There must be something worth trying for
Even something worth dying for
And if one man can stand tall
There must be hope for us all
Somewhere in the spirit of man.

zaterdag 5 januari 2013

Apple Jam

This week apples were on sale for the price of 0.99 cent per kilo, so Tante decided to make apple jam. My Granny who is a very experienced homekeeper, always used to make it when I was a little girl, but I have never done it until recently. I simply got a craving for the thing, so I bought 2 kilos of apples and went to work:


The recipe on the package of jelly sugar calls for 1:1 proportion, but as apples are naturally rich in pectin, I used 1 kg of sugar for 2 kg of apples. I did have to cook it longer though, 12 minutes instead of 5:


Here is the end result:

 It tastes great, too, though rather sweet. I know because it's the second time I have made it this winter. Hopefully this summer will be better than the last one, so I'll be able to make some bramble jam, too!




donderdag 3 januari 2013

Buying Clothes

I think it's important for a housewife to be well-dressed. If she is frumpy, not only she will project the bad image of her chosen occupation, but her self-esteem will suffer, too. For a woman to feel feminine, it's important to look well and to know it. Being well-groomed is a sign of class. This includes maintaining the healthy weight and taking good care of yourself. Why is it that every woman I know was glued to the telly when they were showing the wedding in the English Royal Family? It's not only because we women get sentimental if someone marries, or due to vulgar curiosity, but because of all those pretty dresses the ladies were wearing.

Of course, these dresses are rather costly and most people aren't rich upper class aristocrats and can't afford custom-made clothes, myself included. However, with years I have come to conclusion that while trying to save money ít's important not to fall into another extremity. namely buying cheap low quality stuff which falls apart after the first washing. It's generally a better idea to wait until the more expensive shops have big sales (they usually have them twice a year, in January and in the end of summer) and then search for bargains on brand name clothes. They normally fit better and wear longer.  Personally I feel inspired when I see a lady making an effort to look well, which is possible at any age:


(This is a photo of the Swedish Queen taken last year in Paris).

woensdag 2 januari 2013

2013

Well, it is so far. The winter holidays are over. Children are going back to school next week. My husband returned to work today, after more than a week vacation. The house still looks Christmas-y though, as Í intend to keep the tree and the ornaments till the end of the week.

We have had a nice time even though it's getting darker here in Europe, in more than one sense of the word. On the TV they keep talking about recession and the state of economics. In connection with austerity measures, Tante decided to have a budget Christmas. Meat was bought in the supermarket instead of having been ordered at the butcher's. I tried to buy as much as possible using my household allowance, so as not to  ask my husband for extra money. We didn't go to London as my husband was first planning and we didn't buy any fireworks this year. The neighbours did, a lot. I think their rockets reached Mars. Well, for the price they had payed for those rockets, it was quite possible. Somebody ordered his fireworks in Italy, as the really heavy stuff isn't sold over here. Actually it sounded more like bomb explosions. I stood one meter from them and for a moment went deaf and blind. It's a miracle the window glass didn't break. The cat was scared to death. Poor fellow doesn't like all this noise.

We didn't economise on champagne, though, and the stuff we drank this year was decidedly better than the year before. And now the party is over, and the time has come to get back to work. For those who lack sufficient motivation, this song will probably help. And now I have to leave you because the ironing board keeps gently calling.