dinsdag 29 december 2015

Discouragement

By this time my regular readers must have noticed the disappearance of yet another homemaking blog. The lady owner got discouraged by the negative remarks of people around her, including her own family, on her choice of occupation and ended up deleting it.

It's certainly true that society is sometimes downright hostile to housewives, especially in some countries/regions, but more often than not, you will be just viewed with cold indifference. People are generally self-centered, and having raised an eyebrow or two, they will usually return to contemplating their own problems.

It can be different on the internet which often serves as a magnifying glass, and, unfortunately, many women have become victims of planned troll attacks. Here one rule applies: if you can't stand heat, get out of the kitchen. Whether we like it or not, internet is a public space and it attracts all sorts of folks from basically everywhere on Earth. Some of them are freaks and perverts, or simply downright nasty, sadistic individuals who enjoy bullying others they disagree with. In real life they risk unpleasant consequences for this type of behaviour, so they engage in it online.

Though I perfectly well understand blogging fatigue and the desire to keep private things private I think that as adults we should be able to persist in doing what we think is right ignoring naysayers. We shouldn't expect lavish praise for our choices, either. As Helen Andelin wrote in Fascinating Womanhood, having the moral courage to do the right thing no matter the consequences is the basis of good character.

Running the household well isn't considered important nowadays yet there are still lots of women who choose full time homemaking as their profession. Some only for a couple of years, while the children are small, others even though childless or empty-nesters. Lots of them have blogs where they discuss things they do at home, positive things, such as organising birthday parties for their kids, or interior decorating, or cooking or gardening or other things. There are also lots of homemakers in real life, so why not concentrating on the positive instead of negative?

We also are blessed with YouTube where one can watch old TV shows such as I Love Lucy presenting homemaking in a positive light. In a way, it's probably easier to be a homemaker now than it was in the 1990s, before the internet. We should all try to support each other, online and in real life, too. If you know a lonely homemaker, please invite her to a cup of tea!

zaterdag 26 december 2015

What Are You Getting For Christmas?

I hope you all haven't overindulged at Christmas dinner:






P.S. They say 15% of all internet traffic is cat-related:)

vrijdag 25 december 2015

Merry Christmas!!!

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.


Quoted from here

donderdag 24 december 2015

Recipes for Comfort

by Gooseberry Patch. Not exactly a review, but more of a recommendation:)



Someone gave me this book and let me tell you, it's great! So far I have tried several recipes and they all turned out fine. The book is divided into following parts:

Savoury Morning Fare
Comforting Suppers and Sides
Warming Soups and Stews
Homemade Breads and Rolls
Gooey Sweet Treats

I posted one of their recipes with certain adjustments on this blog just last week. I'm not that much into Soups myself, but I appreciate that they have so many good breakfast and lunch ideas. Actually, it's more lunch for me, since I don't like heavy breakfasts. The recipes include pancakes, toast, sandwiches, scones, waffles, coffee mixes, egg dishes, cakes, muffins, you name it!

The recipes featured in that book aren't high cuisine or very sophisticated but they are budget variety, easy to make and result in hearty meals. Add to this cute drawings, and you'll get an ideal book for home cooks. Of course, I might be just a bit prejudiced since I've been a fan of Gooseberry Patch cooking books for quite some time.

I'd recommend Recipes for Comfort for everyone interested in American style cooking, and especially, in baking.

PS: Here  is the link to the recipes on their website. 

dinsdag 22 december 2015

Finnish Christmas



H/t to Miriam from Finland. I thought it was too good to get buried in the comments. Here is what Miriam wrote:

It's all about 24th, from noon on, when the declaration of Christmas peace is given in Turku. It is quite important for those who live in Turku, but also all over Finland. It can be watched in Tv or listened in radio. After that, churches are bursted with people, because almost everyone wants to attend a Christmas afternoon/Eve service. Even more people visit graveyards, decorating graves with candles. It is important to go to sauna at some point before dinner and gifts. Quite a busy day :-)

UPDATE: Here are the words of the military march that is played last, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Sons of a race whose blood was shed,
On Narva's field; on Poland's sand; at Leipzig; Lützen's dark hills under;
Not yet is Finland's manhood dead;
With foemen's blood a field may still be tinted red!
All Rest, all Peace, Away! begone!
The tempest loosens; lightnings flash; and o'er the field the cannon thunder
Rank upon rank, march on! march on!
The spirit of each father brave looks on as brave a son.

No nobler aim
Could light us to the field;
Our swords are flame;
Nor new our blood to yield;
Forward each man, brave and bold!
Lo! the glorious path of Freedom, centuries old!

Gleam high! Thou banner Victory-sealed!
In the grey bygone days, long since, all battle-worn,
Be still our splendid colours, though tattered, onward borne!
Of Finland's ancient Standard there's yet a shred untorn!
H/t to Housewife from Finland

zondag 20 december 2015

The Fourth Sunday Of Advent






We were late with our Christmas decorations this year, but then I always let my tree stay till after the Epiphany.





There are still cards to be done! Please raise your hands all those who hate doing Christmas cards:)





This year for various reasons, we opted for a very small celebration in the family circle. The meat is already in the freezer, gourmet sets allow for a budget celebration with a variety of meat sorts, add a salad or two, French bread and some frozen veggies plus ice-cream as a dessert and you have a Christmas dinner.





Are you all ready for Christmas and what are you planning to do?


vrijdag 18 december 2015

Lunch Ideas: Buttermilk Pancakes






The original recipe comes from Gooseberry Patch Recipes for Comfort, with some adjustments.

For 12 pancakes, you will need:

1c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 TBSP sugar
1 egg
2 TBSP melted butter plus enough to grease the skillet
1c buttermilk

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients, mix together. Place one tablespoon of batter onto greased skillet, repeat two more times so that you can cook three pancakes simultaneously, like this:




When bubbles appear, flip the pancakes and cook ab 1 more minute:





Makes for a great budget lunch.

dinsdag 15 december 2015

Homemaker's War Guide


Click on the image to view full-size.


Courtesy of this website (as I understand it's not copyrighted)

zondag 13 december 2015

Murphy's Law And An Important Announcement

If things can go wrong, they WILL go wrong! 

It took us the greatest part of the weekend, but we are finally so far: we successfully converted a PDF file into an ePub, so now my book is also available as a proper ebook from Lulu for the price of only 4$:

The Long Way Home ebook

We also corrected some mistakes, which persisted despite multiple editing we'd done before the book went into print.  It's temporarily available only from Lulu, but next year we hope to republish it and make it available on Amazon and also through all the normal retail channels.

Look no further for a proper Christmas present: Support this blog, buy a book:)

vrijdag 11 december 2015

An Amazing Story Of Enrico Dandolo

Enrico Dandolo was a Venetian nobleman who later was elected Doge. Born in 1107, he spent most of his life on diplomatic missions. In 1171, at the age of 64 he accompanied Doge Vitale Michiel on a retaliatory military campaign against Constantinople which proved to be a disaster. He survived a plague epidemic and returned back to Venice only to be appointed an ambassador to the city a year later.

Around this time Enrico started losing his eyesight, as a result of a head wound which he presumably acquired when he was attacked by the mob in the streets of Constantinople though there is little information on the exact circumstances of his injury. By 1176 he appears to have been legally blind which didn't prevent him from fulfilling his duties. In fact, in the following years he twice travelled to Sicily as an ambassador to the King and went back to the city which he hated in 1183, to negotiate the restoration of the rights of the Venetians.

In 1192, when he was 85, Enrico became the next Doge. Despite his age, he was still very ambitious. In 1194 he undertook the currency reform which made Venetian money the dominant currency in the region for the coming years but that was not all. 10 years after his election, when Dandolo was 95 (yes, you read it correct), he decided it was time to go to war and thus took part in the fourth Crusade which sacked Constantinople so that he finally could pay back for all his humiliations.On the way to the city crusaders also sacked the Hungarian town of Zadar simply because they could which led to their excommunication but Enrico didn't seem to care.

Constantinople fell in 1204, and Dandolo played the leading role in this event. As a result, Venice gained the rights to 3/8 of the Byzantine Empire and one would think that at the ripe old age of 97 it would be enough for Enrico, but he apparently just tasted victory and wanted more so he went to fight against the Bulgarians. The crusaders lost that battle and Enrico died 3 weeks later, probably from disappointment, at about 98 years of age.

His son Raniero survived him only by 4 years since he was killed in battle in 1209 but his granddaughter Anna married into European royalty and became the Queen of Serbia. It's unclear whether Enrico had other children besides Raniero, but it's certain that he was married while being a Doge, probably to a much younger woman whose name was Contessa. Raniero appears to have been his son from his first marriage because he apparently already had children of his own at that time and even served as vice-doge during his father's absence.

You can read more about this remarkable man  over here.

dinsdag 8 december 2015

1930s Fashions Part 2: Footwear Edition

A gentleman will always be recognised by his shoes:






Bodoir fashions:





Sturdy outdoor footwear:





Men's shoes actually used to have quite considerable heels:



Those aren't exactly shoes, but I found it a cute ad: boys' play clothes:





Something for summer:





zaterdag 5 december 2015

Career Women, Feminism And Marriage

There are a lot of misconceptions going around about what is feminism and who is a feminist. The most simplistic explanation is that since feminism supposedly benefits women, every woman=feminist. Of course, as I have pointed out in this blog post, it doesn't benefit all women equally, because it's not what it's meant to do. Modern feminism was invented with one objective only, the destruction of the Western traditional family and those who are behind it pretty much succeeded.

However, this is probably too complicated for some people to grasp so that they frame it as sorely women's fault and women's responsibility, and spend considerable amounts of time bashing all women in general and career women in particular. Now, it's certainly true that career women appear to be the greatest beneficiaries of feminism and often its most vocal supporters, however, there is no rule without an exception, as the Romans used to say.

Let's look at an average girl growing up in a "good family". It's nearly certain that her parents (often fathers) will push her to continue her education after she finishes school, so that she "makes something out of herself". There are several reasons for that. First, it's pretty much expected nowadays in those circles and you don't want to be the only loser whose daughter didn't graduate university. Second, it'll give her a better opportunity at catching a decent husband. Third, if she stays single or gets divorced she'll have means to support herself (try to find a job as a middle-aged lady without professional education in modern economy and you'll understand what I mean).

The point is, the society changed in such a way that young middle class women are encouraged by pretty much everybody in their lives to enter careers with an idea that a suitable man will simply appear out of the thin air a couple of years later. Once you start living on your own and work a regular full time job and get older, it becomes very difficult to find a husband. You are often exhausted after the day in the office and dating is the last thing on your mind, plus there is still housekeeping to be done.

Women are often accused of having unrealistic standards. It's true, to a degree, but one can hardly expect a woman with a high earning potential and a respectable white collar job to marry a man not capable of earning a comparable income. It's not in the women's nature to marry down and neither will their families approve of it. The whole situation is a mess and both men and women suffer from it. Western civilisation through the ages created certain mating rituals which got disrupted in the recent years, often with tragic consequences.

If there is a young single lady reading this blog I'd like to point out that the best age of searching for a husband is in your 20s and early 30s and that if you want to have a husband and a family, you should take efforts to achieve it. It won't just happen. Well, sometimes it does, just like some people win a million dollars in a lottery, but usually you have to do something for it. Jane Austen's novels where a heroine simply realises she's always been in love with her best friend and he proposes right away, are fine as entertainment, but they are not real life!

donderdag 3 december 2015

1930s Ads: Fashion

 Some of the ads from my vintage collection:






Also featuring gentlemen:









This one is rather naughty by 1930s standards:




A society event:





Vintage bathing suits:




woensdag 2 december 2015

A Brief Hiatus

I didn't intend to disappear, but was somewhat distracted by other things. Will try to post tomorrow!