Friday, August 26, 2011

Fencepost Friday: What’s Your Biggest Challenge?

fencepost friday

Hello ladies!  Wow has it been one full week around the Armchair household.. so busy I only managed to do one short post since my last Fencepost Friday!  I am hoping to do more blogging this next week, but the truth is until the growing season (which for me is now canning/freezing/drying season) ends, Im probably going to be pretty busy if I want to preserve some of the harvest for the cold winter months.  Sort of makes me actually look forward to winter, though!!


read the fine print in the ad above, ladies… there’s a lot to do!!!  :)

This week I’d like us to gather around the fencepost and talk about challenges.  Sometimes I think we ladies can put on a brave front and pretend that we’ve got everything all together when it comes to balancing our housework, our social and ministry lives, and being the best moms and wives we can be.  But in truth, Im going to go out on a limb and guess Im not the only homemaker who struggles to get everything done in a day or a week, or sometimes feels like as much as I love my job, sometimes i feel like I need two of me to be everything I want and need to be! :)

So, this week I want to hear from you all about your biggest challenges as homemakers. What do you struggle with the most?  Is it not feeling like you have enough time?  Energy?  Direction?  Help?  Health? Money?  Skill?  Organization?  Ability?  Closet space?  (OK that last one was tongue in cheek…sort of.)  I’m sure we probably feel like we could use more of all of these things, and I dont want this to turn into a gripe-fest, but I’d like to know what are the one or two things you find the biggest challenges to your being the best homemaker you can be?  And what do you think the solutions are?

I’d love to hear from as many of you homemaking ladies out there as want to share their stories!  And remember, don’t feel you cant participate if you work outside the home… if you’re a lady and consider yourself a homemaker, I want to hear from you!  As per usual, I’ll go first. :)

armchair housewife The Armchair Housewife Says:  For me, the whole point of The Armchair Housewife is to chronicle my journey to be a better housewife, so I've been pretty open about my challenges along the way. I'd have to say probably the biggest challenge is the fact that I dont come by any of the skills or abilities needed in this job (except for loving my family!) and each ability has been totally self-taught. Sometimes it feels like the learning curve is oftly steep, and I probably expect too much out of myself too soon, and that can lead to frustrations and discouragement.

In addition, I am not a naturally organized person, and I have to really focus in order to be organized. And if its one thing i am learning you need to be a good old-fashioned homemaker, along with the Grace of God, is ORGANIZATION! So this is another thing I am praying about and trying to learn.
Looking forward to hearing from all of you!


seasonal The Seasonal Family says: I know that my challenge is to not spread myself too thin. The idea of being super mom and being able to do everything is very appealing but makes me fall short of my goal constantly. I desperately wish that I was naturally talented in every aspect of homemaking which leads me to resent how those skills are not valued any more and are not taught to us. There is so much beauty in being at home and caring for the family, since our families emotional, physical and spiritual well being are crucial for happiness and success.

We do struggle financially as well and there are moments when I believe if we just had more money we would be "better off" but honestly, what does that even mean? We have a house, we have each other, we have food, we are warm in the winter and stay cool in the summer. An effort needs to be made on my part to not fall into worldly temptations and realize my treasures are stored in heaven.

Here is that book I was telling you about! I know that I want to check it out:


momwald  Mom Wald’s Place says:  Wow, is it possible to leave a whole book for a comment. This is quite the question.
Most recently being an at home mom has also become being a physical therapist, every day. I cannot imagine having a chronically ill child, and having to spend your life separated from them at an away from home career.
We have to do our physical therapy at the YMCA, so our days are chopped up. I need to find a way to regain the gentle pace we had here before as a homeschooling family.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Housewives Preserve Us!


Hello, ladies! This housewife has been too busy to blog because she’s been busy preserving the summer harvest. In addition, thanks to the encouragement you ladies shared with me on my last Fencepost Friday, I’ve made myself a new weekly housekeeping schedule and have been working away on getting into a new routine. So thanks for all the inspiration!

Just thought I’d share a few snapshots of what’s been going on around the Armchair Household. Also, if any of you have a good dill relish recipe, share it with me, would you?

Preparing Fresh Greenbeans for the Freezer

Canning Sliced Peaches

Drying Red and Yellow Sweet Peppers

Pickling Cukes in lots of Dill and Garlic

And I had a little Bird “helping” me all the way…. :)

Happy Homemaking Ladies!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fencepost Friday: What is your Routine?

Woman_s World 1923-09 for photo credit, click on picture

Hello Ladies!  Thank you for joining me for another Fencepost Friday!  it really touched my heart that many of you responded to last week’s post about finances.  I want you to know I appreciated the wisdom that each one of you brought, and your unique stories.  So awesome, this is what makes Blogland great. :)

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doing dishes

This week I want to talk about routine.  My bloggy friend Mrs. Evans did a post about her weekly routine the other day and it got me thinking again about my own routine and how really I could use a more formalized work schedule to help me accomplish more in my day and week.  While our little Bird was still tiny, and we were grabbing sleep when we could and nursing all day and she wasnt able to play on her own, trying to get any sort of schedule in place was impossible. 

meal planning

But now that she is sleeping well and I can actually plan stuff (to a degree, anyway!) Id like to get more of a weekly plan in place.  I will never be rigid type-A schedule keeper, its just not me.  But Id like to at least organize my major housekeeping chores in some order.  I think this will allow me not to feel like i have so much to do everyday, because if I can just do what is on the list for a day and know I’ll get to the other things in the rest of the week, I think it could help reduce stress!

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So, our question for today is this:

What is your routine? Specifically, what is your homemaking schedule or routine?  Do you have certain days of the week that you do specific chores, or do you have more of an ebb and flow to your day and week that just seems to emerge as you go along?  If you have children in the home, I am especially interested to know how you balance time with them and getting your housework done.  And if you are working outside the home, perhaps you can tell us how you balance getting stuff done around the house and having to work at a job (I know all about that!).  Feel free to share either your daily routine or your weekly, or both! 

Really looking forward to your responses, ladies.  I am thinking that because these answers might be a bit more lengthy (and thats ok, I want the details!), and because I have a TON of stuff to get done today in the kitchen (namely peach jam, pickles, and freezing green beans) I probably wont copy and paste answers into the main body of the text today.  Instead, lets just make sure we read the comment sections for everyone’s insights, and you can even subscribe to receive new comments by email if you want to continue to take part in the discussion as more thoughts come in.  I’ll start the comments off with my own daily routine, and I’m excited to hear from each and every one of you!

Blessings, ladies, and Happy Homemaking!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More Vacation Vintage Finds!

retro vacation

Hello ladies, Im excited for this week’s Rednesday and Vintage Thingy Thursday, because I have a TON of cool groovy vintage finds to share with you.  You may be just about sick of looking at my vintage finds, but I just got so many recently I have to share them!  Almost done! :) Keep your eyes open for lots of Red!

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Groovy vintage apron, now hanging on one of my walls (see the display here).

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If you remember from my first post on my vacation finds, I was focusing during my “hunt” for pictures and other decorative items for my walls, which have gone largely ignored in the nearly two years since we have lived here (what with a hard pregnancy and the first year of having a baby, decorating went on the back burner :) ).  I found this picture and fell in love with it, even though it’s nothing fancy.  Look  how sweet this family looks. :)

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Im not sure what you call these, but you’ve probably seen them around.  It’s one side of a wooden crate that has had an old advertisement plastered or modge-podged or something to it.  If you look closely, it says “Cosy Homes Make Happy Childhoods” and was an advertisement for the American Radiators company.  Isnt that the best?  I already had one of these but wasnt using it:

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So I decided to make a nice display for the wall above our tv and bookshelf in the living room, and behold:


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I think the three pieces compliment each other very well, and am happy with how this turned out (and notice my gorgeous RED walls, if you will! :) ).

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Next up is one of the grooviest little antiques I’ve ever come across.  I new instantly when i saw it that i had to have it, and when the vendor saw that I  kept coming back to it she offered to knock the price down and i got this for 15 dollars, which I happen to think is a pretty awesome deal for such a neat old piece. 

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If you can’t tell what it is, its a decorative box for the wall that has a pull-out drying rack for dish towels!  How CUTE is that?  and its still in good enough shape that the rack is sturdy enough for me to use it! 

My wall space is actually very limited in my kitchen, so I thought I’d hand it in my main floor bathroom, as it not only looks cute in there but its a place where I often go to hang up things to dry, and i’m already using it to dry Bird’s bibs: 

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Isn’t it awesome???

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And of course let’s NOT forget the awesome 1953 first edition Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook I picked up for a song… if you havent had a chance yet to feast your eyes on my post all about that gem, you can view it here.

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Now this next find is actually pretty special.  I knew when I saw it hanging in the shop that it was old, but I wasn’t sure how old and I really just bought it because I liked the look of it.  Ladies, I got this beautiful framed floral print for FIVE dollars.  When I got home I started searching online and I’m just about certain that this is an old, numbered print of J.L. Prevost, a Parisian painter of the late 18th century.  From some of the other prints I’ve found online and some of the similar markings, it looks like this print was created by the Paris Etching Society in NYC circa the 30s and 40s.  I found a set of three of these prints going for 100 dollars on Ebay, so 5 dollars for one is a pretty good deal. :) Picture 012

I turned it over and found this darling seal on the back from A.G. Cummings & Son, which was a book store and artistic framer from Oberlin, Ohio that was open in the later part of the 19th century until 1957.  The print was likely framed in the 30s or 40s after being purchased from the Paris etching society in New York.  It’s neat to trace the history of a piece and picture a lady on vacation in NYC sometimes in the 30s, finding this lovely print and bringing it back to Ohio to have it printed at her local bookshop.  For a history nerd like me, this is the best part of antique hunting.  :)

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I also picked up two more floral prints, one framed and one not.  I picked up a frame for the print on the right at a local thrift store when I got back, and with these items and some of the other things I got on vacation, mixed with some other items I “shopped” from my house and already had, I made this display on the large wall in our living room:

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I know its hard to see… Im not a good photographer for wide shots, but its a display with all floral pictures and then a print of Christina’s World that I bought years ago at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, and am just now getting around to framing and displaying.  I’m happy with the way this turned out, too. :)

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And lastly, I got these sweet, cute little plaques with scenes of a mamma with her babes, to hang up with Bird’s room.  Again they were nothing fancy, but the sweet scenes of domestic life in them touched my heart, and for a DOLLAR a piece (they were on the stores clearance table), how could I go wrong?

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Well, ladies, that sure was a lot of stuff.  I hope it wasnt too overwhelming!  Hope you enjoyed all the Red and the great vintage finds!  Be blessed and know I so look forward to seeing all of your posts over at Rednesday and Vintage Thingy Thursdays!

Happy Homemaking!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hallway Before and After (with Vintage!!)


Hello ladies!  I did this monster post yesterday and I think it was just plain too long for people to read!  So here it is cropped down to the essential bits:  a thank you and a show and tell for my recent hallway transformation. :)

First of all, want to say a big fat THANK YOU to all of you who participated in my very first Fencepost Friday!  I was super duper encouraged to hear al that you had to say about being a blessings financially to your families.  Keeping with the theme of being financially responsible and a blessing to our families, I wanted to share some decorating I did this week using almost all things I found in my garage or around the house that hadnt been used yet.  Yay!

This week, among other things, I tackled this wall:


It’s a very easily-ignored wall as its sort of wedged in between my stairway and the bathroom, but I felt like it had some potential.  I went into my garage on Friday last and dug up all the pictures, shelves, and other decorative items Ive had for a while but never put to use in our new home for reasons stated above.  I found I had quite a lot of good stuff, stuff I had pretty well forgotten about!  And after weighing it over, I came up with this:

Picture016_thumb2 apologies about the photo quality: this is a rather dark corner of the house without much natural lighting and that is bad for my camera!!

Now, mind you:  I am NOT Martha St ewart.  I am also no Aunt Ruthie from Sugar Pie Farmhouse.  If you want gorgeous eye candy for home decorating, she’s your lady!  But I was pretty happy with how this turned out, and helps give my home, I think, that warm vintage feel that I so love.

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The shelf was a little cutie I bought at the thrift store months ago but hadn’t hung up yet, and the two aprons are vintage that I got a song each at different stores at different times.  I’ve had the red repo lantern forever it seems, but it was just hiding on a bookshelf elsewhere in the house, and that adorable little transistor radio from the 50s, as well as that coffee canister, weren’t being put to use at all!  What a sad waste!  Aren’t they cute?

What I really love about the wall are these fabulous Pespi ads from the late 50s.  All they are, ladies, are magazine ads that have been removed from some old vintage periodical and sold individually at an antique store for about a dollar or two each. Look for these when you are out antique hunting because they can be fabulous decorative items if framed.  In this case, the frames were the only thing i lacked.  I did my due diligence and went to not one, but TWO thrift stores looking for frames before I went and bought them retail, but didnt have any luck (although I did find two other smaller frames that I have since put to use that I’ll share with you some other time.  So I did buy the two black frames new at Superstore, but the rest I “shopped” for right here in my own house.  What do you think?

Well, ladies, this blogging has been fun but I better go get baby up from her nap and get dinner started.  I pray you’re all having a sensational day and see you again soon!  Blessings!