The American Frugal Housewife

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5489653574_9ce1fa2feb_zsource: marcia furman

Here are a couple of ideas from the classic, The American Frugal Housewife. Not everything fits in with current beliefs, especially her ideas on raising children. My suggestion is to decide for yourself if those ideas make sense for your family.


In early childhood, you lay the foundation of poverty or riches, in the habits you give your children. Teach them to save everything,—not for their own use, for that would make them selfish—but for some use. Teach them to share everything with their playmates; but never allow them to destroy anything.


If young men and young women are brought up to consider frugality contemptible, and industry degrading, it is vain to expect they will at once become prudent and useful, when the cares of life press heavily upon them.


If you are about to furnish a house, do not spend all your money, be it much or little. Do not let the beauty of the thing, and the cheapness of that, tempt you to buy unnecessary articles.


Make your own bread and cake. Some people think it is just as cheap to buy of the baker and confectioner, but it is not half as cheap. It is convenient, but those who are under the necessity of being economical should make convenience a secondary priority.


In this country, we are apt to let children romp away their existence, till they get to be thirteen or fourteen. This is not well. It is not well for the purses and patience of parents; and it has a still worse effect on the morals and habits of the children. Begin early is the great maxim for everything in education. A child of six years old can be made useful; and should be taught to consider every day lost in which some little thing has not been done to assist others.


The true economy of housekeeping is simply the art of gathering up all the fragments, so that nothing be lost. I mean fragments of time, as well as materials. Nothing should be thrown away so long as it is possible to make any use of it, however trifling that use may be; and whatever be the size of a family, every member should be employed either in earning or saving money.


Begin humbly. As riches increase, it is easy and pleasant to increase in hospitality and splendour; but it is always painful and inconvenient to decrease.


Rise early. Eat simple food. Take plenty of exercise. Never fear a little fatigue.


Avoid the necessity of a physician, if you can, by careful attention to your diet. Eat what best agrees with your system, and resolutely abstain from what hurts you, however well you may like it.


If you find yourself really ill, send for a good physician. Have nothing to do with quacks; and do not tamper with quack medicines. You do not know what they are; and what security have you that they know what they are?

Read More: Vintage Economics or Home

Food Journaling Page

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foodieFood Journaling Page (pdf)

I’m obsessed with food. I love to make it, read about it, and of course eat it.

Naturally, I decided I also need to write about it. To that end, I have made myself (and you!) a Food Journal template. It’s simple to understand, so I am offering only a brief explanation of each heading. My own responses (for today) are in brackets.


Cooking:  What you’re cooking for dinner tonight?  [veggie burger and rice, plus salad]

Craving: What are the foods you are currently craving?  [guacamole and corn chips]

Reading: What cookbooks/websites you’re currently using?  [Vegetarian Express by Nava Atlas]

Eating: What was today’s breakfast and lunch?  [breakfast: kiwi, Lunch: burrito with cheese]

Drinking: What are you drinking today?  [water, grape Prigat]

Planning: What is your menu for the weekend or the next special occasion?  [vegan jambalaya]

Feeding: Who you are feeding tonight?  [just feeding myself]

Shopping: Write down your shopping list.  [sliced cheese, grapes, plums, milk, dried dill]

Please send me an email if you have any questions, corrections, or comments.

Read More: Journaling or Home

Healthy Barley and Lentil Soup

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Hearty Barley and Lentil Soupsource: Jodi Green

I found the original recipe for this dish on the Joy of Kosher site.  However, I skipped the kale, added some yummy Italian seasonings and simplified the instructions. The end result is a very good and filling soup.

3/4 cup barley

1/3 cup green lentils

2 tbsp olive oil

2 carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 large onions, diced

1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 tbsp dried oregano

1/2 tbsp dried basil

1/2 tsp powdered garlic

1/4 tsp pepper

salt, to taste

Using a large pot, saute the vegetables in oil till softened. Slowly add 5 cups of water and bring to a boil. When the water boils, add the rest of the ingredients. Stir frequently and add additional water if needed. Cook till the flavors have melded and the lentils and barley are ready to eat.

Kerri Smith

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I adore Kerri Smith,  and I  just bought a big stack of her books.  Not everything she has written, but still, plenty.

Who is Kerri Smith? She is the author of a line of sketchbooks/ creativity books/ journals. Her books are both open ended and guided at the same time.  The best known of the series is called Wreck This Journal.

People have done all kinds of things with her books. For instance, in Wreck This Journal, there is a page that says “Bring this book in the shower with you” and some folks have actually done that (and had a very waterlogged book). Others have drawn pictures of themselves in the shower. A few used watercolor pencils on the page and sprayed it with a  fine mist of shower water. Anything goes.

The Pocket Scavenger and This Is Not A Book are a little different from the other books. The Pocket Scavenger asks you to find tiny objects and do random art projects with them. This Is Not A Book invites you to use the book itself to do a variety of silly little activities.

Update: I just started working in This Is Not A Book. Last night, as instructed, I’ve disguised the front cover. This morning, I  cut out a page to make a mini book (I made mine a book of  quotations.) Tonight I’m planning to do page 54. The directions say “This is a hiding place. Stash your secrets here.” I’m going to write my secrets on little scraps of paper and  glue them (print side down) to the page.

Finish This Book is enjoyed by a lot of adults, but it may be more for kids. The reader is urged to follow the exercises in the book in order to  become a detective and solve a small mystery.

There are a ton of Kerri Smith resources available online. Youtube has dozens of videos showing page by page finished journals. Searches on Tumblr and Pinterest also come up with lots of tutorials, page ideas and inspiration pages. In addition, Kerri has a free pdf called “100 Ideas,” which some crafters have used as the basis for an entire journal.

Here’s a list of the books I bought:

Wreck This Journal.

The Pocket Scavenger

Wreck This Journal Everywhere

This Is Not a Book

Mess: The Manual of Accidents and Mistakes

Finish This Book

I also purchased How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum but I will be doing a complete review of that book later in the month.

If you decide to purchase any of these books, and use my link I will receive a (small) compensation from Amazon.

Read More: Book Reviews or Home

Alice In Wonderland Themed Crafts

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As a child, I loved the story of Alice In Wonderland.

As an adult, I love the imagery.  Alice, the Queen, the Cheshire Cat are all wonderful, vivid characters. Even the settings are delightful; the real world, down the rabbit hole, the chess game.

Here are some craft projects that bring back those sweet memories.


Clock (inspiration)

embroideryEmbroidery (tutorial)


Wreath (inspiration)

free-printableWall Art (free printable)

clockClock (inspiration)

free-paper-dollsPaper Dolls (free printable)

furnitureFurniture (inspiration)

tagsTags (free printable)


Read More: Themed Crafts or Home

Very Versatile Vegetarian Salad Wraps

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21694947880_443a8a395e_zsource: Yvonne Brettnich

These wraps are very versatile.

Try them with either honey mustard dressing, cream cheese, guacamole, techina (sesame paste dressing) or hummus (chickpea dressing) as the spread.

Or, if you don’t care for cabbage, carrots, and lettuce, feel free to choose your own veggies. Raw spinach, olives, tomatoes, red peppers and cucumbers are also good choices.

You can even add a little egg salad or cheese if you need a bit of protein.


4 flour tortillas

dressing or spread of your choice

1/2 grated carrots

1/2 grated cabbage

4 lettuce leaves, washed and dried

1-2 tablespoon lemon juice

1-2 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste


Combine carrots, cabbage, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Use more or less olive oil and lemon juice, depending on how tangy a sandwich you are going for. Set aside.

Spread tortilla with dressing or spread.

Spoon half of carrot/cabbage mixture onto center of tortilla. Add one or two leaves of lettuce. Do not overstuff.

Roll up tortilla and eat immediately.

Makes 4 sandwich size wraps.

10 Ways To Make A Museum Trip Amazing

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Museum Tripssource: Kate Gardiner

Good news! There is a much better way to enjoy museums!

Just follow the ideas below and make museums trips exciting and memorable instead of brutal and blah.

10 Ways To Make A Museum Trip Amazing

(1) Find out what lectures, movies, tours and hands-on activities are available. Be sure to reserve a space for all.

(2) Look online to find out about special exhibits. Get some background on what you’ll be seeing. If possible, print the information out and take it with you.

(3) Have everyone bring or share cameras. Though most museums won’t allow photos inside, they do usually let pictures be taken outdoors.

(4) Set a goal for each member of your group to learn and remember one interesting thing. Share your findings during lunch.

(5) If the museum has a nice sculpture garden or other outdoor spot, take advantage of that too. Take a lunch or drink, talk over what you saw and enjoy watching the other visitors.

(6) Find out from the front desk what materials are available to enjoy the exhibits. These usually range from small brochures, to earplugs and other listening devices. The last time we went to the Walter’s Art Gallery, in Baltimore, they lent out coloring pages and crayons.

(7) Give everyone a small pad of paper and pen to take notes or make sketches.

(8) Look around for an art student or docent and try to engage him or her in a serious conversation about a particular exhibit.

(9) Make a small purchase in the museum store.  Kids, especially, look forward to purchasing a postcard or other small trinket to remember the trip.

(10) Design your own scavenger hunt. Using the internet beforehand, make a list of some of the exhibits you want to see, and check off each as you locate it.

What do all all of these activities have in common? They allow you and the rest of your group to full engage with the museum. That engagement makes the entire day much more memorable.

Read More: Local Trips or Home

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