Sunday, February 28, 2016

Day 14 & 15: Testing Some Tips and Recipes

I am behind in my posting thanks to a very busy weekend and some pure exhaustion late last week. But I am finally on and catching up since I have been a failure of a housewife today. Thursday was a fairly low key day for me. I woke up, made the breakfast and got to work on top cleaning in the morning. Well, when I got to the bathroom I did pause to re-grout some grout lines that had been worn quite down. The house was looking amazing by lunch time. After lunch, beds were stripped and washed and I worked on washing all the windows. I decided to try a tip from Heloise's Housekeeping Hints and I washed the windows and mirrors using newspaper instead of paper towels. Wow! What a difference. I had no problems with streaking when I wiped down the mirrors!

Mail came and with it were 2 much awaited deliveries. The first was a pattern I had ordered during the Butterick pattern sale.

This is the only pantsuit I have seen that I actually thought was cute so I figure I have to give it a go. Interesting tid-bit; during the 1950's "each sewer made between twenty-one and twenty-seven garments a year - mostly dresses" (Ketteler, Judi. Sew Retro: A Stylish History of the Sewing Revolution). In keeping with the experiment, this means I will have to try to sew 2 garments a month. This will be a bit of a rocky challenge for me as I am still somewhat new to sewing my own garments.

I also received a wonderful 1950's book in the mail, The Housewives Handbook by from W.H. Wise & Co., published in 1953. 

I can't wait to start dipping into this one. 

Dinner was not going to be an award winning dinner. I decided to take a stab at a quick meal that I found in a vintage ad, a bean bake.

I mostly decided on this due to the fact that there have been 2 cans of Van Camp's beans sitting in the pantry since the summer. Unfortunately, the only thing I could not add was the green pepper as I hadn't really planned too well in advance. I also used Velveeta as my cheese. 

Let's just say, absolutely not a winner in our book. Thank god that I thought ahead and boiled 2 hot dogs for the kids on the side just in case. And if it weren't for the salad I prepped I would have gone pretty much hungry that night. The only one who did like this meal was my hubby and I am convinced that is only because of his love for Velveeta cheese. 

After dinner, I sat and began working on my meal plan for the next week and a grocery list. I decided to follow another tip from Heloise's Housekeeping Hints and try to shop in as few trips as possible. Thanks to the modern convenience of having my own vehicle and being able to shop at a Supermarket, this meant I would be able to attempt to buy for an entire 7 days. Unfortunately, this also meant 3 hours of my night were spent meal planning, list making and coupon clipping. However, that 3 extra hours and extra hectic shopping trip would mean a weekly savings of approximately 25 dollars. Every penny counts!

The next day I was up before the alarm and made a breakfast of eggs, toast and an orange. I should have been top cleaning but instead I sat down and devoured an entire book in about an hour and a half. I must note, before this project and after having both of my kiddos, I had yet to read an entire book aside from the Great Gatsby a year ago. This book was the earlier mentioned Sew Retro: A Stylish History of the Sewing Revolution by Judi Ketteler. For a sewing enthusiast this book was down right fascinating. I loved reading about the history of sewing in the American household. Of course, I especially loved reading about sewing within the 1950s as it gave me some insight as to how a housewife might have been utilizing her sewing skills. The author fully recognizes the downsides of this era in American history but goes on to say, ". . . there was an amazing flow of creativity - an electricity that ignited a culture of great design. That creative energy found its way to women and their sewing machines, and they created their own art. American history is all about contradictions. When you reflect on the history of this country, it's not uncommon to feel both ashamed and proud in the same breath. But I think you can recognize the flaws of a time period and still cling to an irrational love of it. Such is the 1950s." I am especially jealous as I read about the accessibility of sewing in this decade, of being able to purchase fabric at major department stores as well as at the local five and dimes.

My attention is quickly diverted though as I realize it is now nearly 9:45 and I have yet to get ready or top clean. I rush about to get set and start a really half hearted top clean as I prepare to race to the grocery store. Despite the long list, I manage to get through the store in record timing, thanks to a well organized list. As I mentioned earlier, my savings makes me proud of the time I spent on the process. My joy is quickly diminished as I break 2 eggs on my way into the house with what feels like thousands of pounds of food. 

Over lunch I quickly flip through some recipes to find a use for the two broken eggs before they spoil and after lunch I begin whipping up some chocolate mousse. As the chocolate sauce is cooling in the fridge I get on with my chores of cleaning the bathroom. Once again, I decide to steal a tip from Heloise's Housekeeping Hints. I run upstairs and grab our old broom. Once back in the bathroom I sprinkle some cleaning solution on the tub and get to scrubbing with the broom rather than bending over the tub with scrub brush. 

It really did work just as well as the scrubber and it saved my back and knees a world of ache! Thank you, Heloise! 

Once the chores were finished up I sat down at the sewing machine and whipped up a surprise for my grandmother who had been over earlier in the week and had mentioned that she could not find a toaster cover anywhere. After only an hour and a half of work I had a toaster cover that I would surprise her with on Saturday.

Dinner that night was a modern recipe of fish and chips. This consisted of cod with an almond crust and sweet potato fries. 

The meal was good but took a lot longer than I had hoped to prep and it left a mess of splattered oil on the stove. I did a decent wipe down but the stove is definitely looking forward to a thorough cleaning on Monday. 

We spent the rest of the evening indulging in one of our favorite movies from the 50s, the Seven Year Itch, as we indulged in our delicious homemade chocolate mousse.

This recipe will definitely be a keeper!

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