Sunday, December 17, 2017

Archive for March, 2005

The Duties of Faith

His strength is made perfect in our weakness. When we are weak, He is strong.

A true witness for Christ dies daily and takes up her own cross for Christ. The cross before her and the world behind her.

It is the oppression of the world that gives us anointing, strength and virtue, as we walk in obedience in spite of it. As the world tries to snare her, she runs back to the hollow of His hand. He gives her more anointing and power and virtue.

And our lady of virtue stands on stage for the world to see.

Who is she?

She is our lady of courage, the Proverbs 31 woman. A woman of wisdom. A mother trained by God in faith and power.

She is the Rose of Sharon who blooms in the wilderness.

She is the stream of water that waters the prophet in the desert.

She is the virtuous woman.

She is Sarah.

She is Elizabeth.

She is Mary.

She is Ruth who forsakes all to follow Naomie the virtuous woman.

She honors her husband after he is dead, as she does him good all of her life.

Our weakness is His pedestal of faith. Our strength is in Him and He alone. Not in our education or in our job, but in our place of obedience as wife and mother. Our school to learn the fruits of the Spirit is in our home. As we submit to our husbands. As we sacrifice to care for the Baby in the middle of the night.

We won’t learn prudence and stability sitting in church, learning about faith, unless we bring it all home to duty and order.

Faith cannot run wild; it must have a harness. A gun must be aimed. Electicity, to be of any worth, must be harnessed. Virtue must be steered in the home to be of any worth.

Today, willingly sit under your husband’s words and His authority. Let him be the author of your life.

With willing hands, make his breakfast, his lunch, and dinner.

Willingly pick up the baby and comfort her.

Willingly sweep the floor and do the dishes.

Bring faith into your spiritual muscles.

Arise unto God and take on your harness and be prudent daughters of faith and courage.

Those of you who wait in faith, wait a little longer.

When all hope is lost, and you have run out of options, and the devil has convinced you that God has not heard you, wait a little longer.

The truly courageous Mother and wife of the hour is not the strongest one among us, but the woman who just waited a little longer. She says with her weakness, “I believe I will give it another day.”

This woman has no place to go but unto Him. She won’t give up until she sees His glory. Her heart is His. She has hoped in Him and she sees no relief until He comes. Her lamp is full of oil and she will not go with another groom. A sword has pierced her heart and Jesus is the only healer for her brokeness. She awaits Him to marry Him; to blend her life with His.

Ruby encourages her to wait upon Him.

She walks in the darkness in the unknown and the devil proves himself to her that God is not with her. And still she walks on.

Her mind is tormented and yet she walks on.

And at the time satan seems to have her convinced that all is truly lost — by her obedience, she gets up and turns her back on Satan.

And it’s at this point the miracle and the anointing will come.

Don’t give up, dear suffering saints, for you will see His glory if you will not faint.

His glory and miracles are not in this world but on the outside edge of it.

If you don’t give up, you will see His glory.

Or, you might say…
When you do give up
you will see
His glory.

A Busy Day

Well, it’s a busy day here. Jim is off today and I am having him take me to the Dollar Tree. I want to get some of those stakes that say HAPPY EASTER for my front yard. I want to get some cute ribbon to tie on my country mailbox. Also, I need some more jely beans.

This afternoon after lunch, I will make some cut out Easter cookies. I will just take a tin can and squeeze it into an oval shape and make cut out eggs. Then I will take some coconut and dye it green with food coloring. I will frost the cut out cookies and then lay the colored coconut on the top for a nest? Then I will stick a few jelly beans on the top, so it looks like a bird’s nest.

I may make pickled eggs. Just make pickled beets, or buy some, and add the peeled boiled eggs in a big jar. Let them set a few hours and they turn purple.

I will get Baby Rose in a minute here, too. So I am off for the day.

Old-Time Coffee Cake & Refrigerator Biscuits

This morning Jim has to work … well, later this morning. Last evening, as we were visiting in the living room, I told him that I would make him a Coffee Cake this morning with his fried eggs and sausage.

The Old Time Mothers used to make these quick cakes for breakfast or for afternoon coffee with the neighbors. Mother’s regular, light dinner cakes used to take a long time to make, as Mother had to beat the eggs by hand to make her cakes nice and fluffy and light. But the Coffee Cakes were quick to make in her kitchen, as she made her coffee for unexpected company. These cakes are not light and have a very simple taste — just right to eat with hot coffee.

You just make up a simple biscuit dough … maybe add an egg, if ya wanna, when ya add the milk. You could add a cup of sugar, too. I have a small can of peaches, so I will put this fruit in my cake. I will use the peach syrup as part of the liquid. You can add spices, too, like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, or a pinch of ground cloves. I will use about a cup of brown sugar. After I get my Coffee Cake all mixed up and in a buttered pan, I will top the cake with more brown sugar and cinnamon, and some dabs of butter. You could put nuts on the top, too, if ya have some. Then I will bake my cake in a hot oven until it is brown.

Basically, a Coffee Cake is like muffins that you just put all in one pan and top it with sugar and spices. Once in a while, if it is on sale, I will buy a sack of self-rising flour. I will use this flour as I make my coffee cake this morning. I mean, ya don’t need the self-rising flour, but it makes your Quick Breads and Coffee Cakes very light.

Ok, here’s a few more ideas for a Coffee Cake. Just make up your biscuit dough and add some sugar in the dough, too, if ya wanna. Grease your pan and then take wads of the biscuit dough and dip them in milk, and then in sugar and cinamon, and put them in your pan. Just make a few layers like this. When they are done, just flatten the lumps down flat with your hands. Then, over the top, put brown sugar and spices and a few dabs of butter.

Another snack the old time Mothers used to make for the children was the raisin cinnamon buns. These buns were convenient for the little children to eat with their hands outside, so the adults could visit inside. These buns were just made like biscuits but with raisins and a bit of sugar added. They are hardier than a cookie and kept the children happy until Mama got home and put supper on.

When I was a little girl growin’ up, the neighbor children and I would sit on my swing set in the evening after supper and eat left over supper biscuits and tell all the latest family gossip.

I read a story once about a Mother out on the prairie who would make a few dozen of these raisin buns and take them in a sack to the young mother going into labor. These buns kept the family’s children happy and full until the baby was born. Then, the midwife or another neighbor woman helping out fixed them all a bit of supper.

You really don’t even need sugar in the raisin buns, as the raisins sweeten the dough. But if you want to add spices, you will have to add the sugar or honey.


If you don’t want to make the homemade biscuit dough for the Coffee Cakes, just use the refrigerator biscuits. Cut the refrigerator biscuits into fourths with a knife and then dip each piece in milk and some sugar and cinnamon, and layer these pieces in a buttered pan. Then put more sugar and spices on the top and bake. Now, we used to call this Monkey Bread. I used to use the refrigerator biscuits for a lot of meals. But, mainly, I used the homemade. If I found the refrigerator biscuits on sale, I would buy them.

I used to take hot dogs and squeeze a refrigerator biscuit around each hot dog and then bake them until brown. My children loved these for a simple lunch with ketchup and macaroni and cheese.

Another thing I used to make with the refrigerator biscuits is little fruit pies. Just grease a cookie sheet, and take 5 refrigerator biscuits and flatten them out on the pan so they look like flat pancakes. Then, put a few tablespoons of fruit filling in the middle and flatten another biscuit to go on the top. Prick a few holes in the top biscuit to let out the air, and seal the edges with fork prints. Then just bake until brown.

Also, I would make Tuna Salad Sandwiches like this. You can use any filling.

Then, sometimes, if we wanted donuts, I would deep fry the refrigerator biscuits. Just stretch them out and put a hole in the middle and deep fry them. I made these a lot for the children and them we sprinkled these with powdered sugar … or cinnamon and sugar. The children loved these and ate them while they were hot. If any were leftover, we ate them cold. I would use a couple tubes of biscuits for this.

These are all just quick desserts to have with meals or for unexpected Tea Parties.

Happy Day to all of you Kitchen Saints. Enjoy the children and pamper your husband.

Fryin’ Potatoes for Breakfast

Do you have trouble at times fryin’ potatoes? Or does your family eat potatoes fried? I used to have a hard time getting mine to turn out. Here are some tips.

The red potatoes are the best to fry, but I use the white, too, as they are the cheapest. Last night for Papa’s supper, I used Mountain King Gold Potatoes. They look more yellowish and are small with barely a peeling. I just slice them up, with the peel on, and fry them.

Now, if you fry some meat and then want to fry potatoes, you have to add some oil or some shortening to your pan. The pan drippings are too sticky and aren’t oily enough to fry the spuds. Also, add a tablespoon of butter to make the potatoes crispy and golden brown. Don’t use margarine to fry the spuds. They will stick to the pan like candy.

So, once the potatoes are fried and browned but still hard? Just throw in a half cup of water to your pan, put the lid on, and let them simmer on the stove until done in the middle. If you have chicken broth, this would be good, too, instead of water.

Once the potatoes are done and golden brown, then you can do several other things with them. You can lay cheese slices over the top, or shredded cheese. Just put the lid back on the pan and let the cheese melt. Or you can fry up some hamburger and put this over the top of the spuds, and even cheese over that. In the old days, when my happy children were all home and I was low on eggs, I would fry up potatoes for their breakfast and when the spuds were done, I would throw in a few eggs and scramble them up with the potatoes. You could put in leftover ham, too, if ya have it.

Also, I made a lot of baked egg omelet for my family. I still make it for Jim. (I just stopped, just now, and made some and put it in the oven for Jim’s breakfast.) This is how I make it for just 4 servings. You get out a bowl to mix in. Put in 12 saltine crackers, 2 cups of milk and 4 eggs. Scramble this up with a fork. Then add a cup of cheese. I just use the cheese spread, but you can use whatever you have. Just salt and pepper it and you are done. Then, just pour this mixture in an oiled square pan or casserole dish and bake it at about 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until you can put a knife in the middle and it comes out clean.

Now, I used to double this recipe for my family. And you can get really fancy with this and add tomatoes, green peppers and onions. But Papa would think I had lost my mind if I were to add such things to his eggs. He would grunt, “Whats this?” as he picks a green pepper out of his eggs. But I go with salt and black pepper and some parsley, and that way, I don’t get killed. But you can put about anything in this dish. Any left over meat or pork sausage or bacon. I just make the omelet plain and then I fry bacon to go with it for my wild cowboy. Papa don’t need any hot peppers in his omelet, as he is hot already. We will have some homemade bread with this omelet this morning.

Now, another nice breakfast is the omelet with apple or berry muffins and a bowl of fruit. I used to just open a can of peaches and add a few bananas, sliced up, in a pretty bowl. The children loved their bananas like this in peach juice. I mean, Good Grief! I could never afford all of that sugary cereal for my children for breakfast. And I couldn’t afford all the orange juice, either. So I often gave my children a cut up orange for breakfast, or some other canned fruit. Sometimes, I cut up apples, if we had a lot of them, and stewed them on the stove and used them for breakfasts each morning. Well better go check my omelet.

Happy Cooking.

P.S. I just told Jim I was writing about my potatoes and he told me that the ones I fried last night were Yukon Gold. They are new in our area and are small and golden and have barely a peeling.

Depression Era Mothers

Some of the farm mothers during the Depression era were able to feed their families well. They had nothing but food. They had their own chickens and saved their vegetable seeds from year to year and planted huge gardens. They started pots and containers of every kind with seedlings in the winter for spring gardens. The city mothers didnt fare nearly as well. I have seen cartoons in old books of fat naked farmers. Well, naked for then — they had their pants on. But the point the cartoonist was trying to make was that the farmers and their families had plenty of food but nothing else.

Husband and his sons would hunt and fish and bring home the meat for supper. Mama would sell eggs to pay for material and sewing items. The cream from milking “Bossy” wasn’t used for the family meals, as it was sold in town, or exchanged at the grocery store for coffee and some tobacco for Papa … or just cash to buy postage stamps or a gallon of gas for the car. And, ya know one thing, those women didn’t go out to work?

And Mama made sure, above all, that she had coffee for her husband and tobacco for his pipe or for hand rolled cigarettes. I mean, Mama kept her husband happy. And the women that didn’t keep their husbands happy back then paid in the long run. I have read so many stories about men who couldn’t feed their families and they would kill themselves. A man that couldn’t feed his family was not even a man, back then, and he figured he may as well kill himself and be one less mouth to feed. Or many men went out on the road to find work and never returned.

The mother’s job at home was precious and she was needed to sing to the family and to dry their tears. She was the star of the home and the strong shoulder to cry on. She was a woman of faith and courage. And if she wasn’t, she just flat lost her family.

And, ya know, during the Dirty Thirties in Kansas, they had no rain for three years. And so they had no gardens and mother kept her family alive on dried beans. Mainly, she kept them alive with her faith. Also, there were several plagues of grasshoppers during that time, too. The grasshoppers came and ate everything off the top of the ground … even ate the eyes out of several horses. They would eat the wooden handles off the garden tools.

The land in Kansas was so overworked by the settlers and they had so few trees, when the wind came, it would blow the dry top soil right off. So the Dust Storms were terrible in that three years of no rain. The Mothers’ homes were just full of dry dirt. They would have to shovel the dirt out of their homes in the country. In order to start supper, they had to first clean the dishes full of dirt.

Mother was the anchor of the home as she kept the faith and encourged the family to keep on goin’. And now, dear mothers, in our age, you all have a job to do to keep your families happy and well fed and full of courage. We need to keep the hope up in our families. We need to have homes that are festive and alive with joy. We, too, fight a war, as the times about us are hard.

Ya know, we need to take lessons from the Mothers of old. We need to cook and bake every day, too. Mothers used to make pies and cakes once a week … also, a few batches of bread, deprending on family size. We seem to be losing our families, and factories are feeding our loved ones. We need to fill up our cookie jars with homemade cookies and bring the joy and gladness back into our homes.

I have had so many interruptions on this writing today. I have been workin’ on it since early this morning. I am just going to have to quit it and write again about it later.

Frugal Housewifery

I would like to write about the many uses of the common and humble newspaper.

My Jim, the man of the house, doesn’t subscribe to the daily newspaper but buys one a few times a week. After he reads it, I will gather it up to save it. I throw away all the siick pages with the ads. Then I cut the sheets in half and half again so that I have sheets the size of paper towels.

I use these sheets to wash windows. Great for washing car windows, too. Just wet your sheet and you don’t need soap, as the newsprint cuts through the dirt in the windows. Just scrub with the wet paper. Then, take a dry sheet and wipe the windows dry.

Now, the cutting up of the newspaper sheets is a good project to have the children do. If you have these little sheets, all cut up and stacked in plain sight, then the family will think of many ways to use them. Leave some of the newpaper sheets uncut to lay on the table for craft projects and easy clean up. The old time Mothers made many sewing patterns out of newspaper and traded patterns with other housewives.

When I bake cookies, I have no place but the table to set my hot cookie sheets, so I set them on a newspaper on my table. I also put folded newspaper at the bottom of my potato bin to soak up any moisture from the potatoes. If you get a rotten potato, it shows up pretty quick on the white paper.

I use the newspaper in the garden to wrap the bottoms of my tomato plants and other plants, like cabbage. The smell of the newsprint keeps the bugs away. Cabbage plants, especially, get my newspaper as they need to be good and dry at the stem, so they don’t rot. The newsprint keeps each plant neat and tidy. Also, lay the newspaper down on the ground between plants as a mulch … cover with grass clippings. The newsprint will rot in the ground and, after many seasons, the dirt becomes more fluffy and full of air.

Now we can move onto paper sacks that come into the home. Save these for many uses. You can even use a sandwich bag size of a sack to bake a loaf of bread in, but make sure the sack has a flat bottom that will stand up. Balance it and make sure it won’t fall over.

Also, you can use paper sacks like seed pots for young plants. Just take your sack and fold the top down to the size you need — if you want to start a cucumber plant inside, for example. The ground has to be very warm for cukes. So you can get a good plant goin’ in the house before you plant it in your garden. When you plant the cuke, just dig a big hole in the garden, set the whole sack in the hole, and cover about it with dirt. Also, put a big stick beside the plant. This, way when the plant gets dry and bushy, you can pour water on it at the plant base, rather than watering the dirt all around it.

Save a few pans of soapy dish water each day to pour on your cuke plants. This water keeps the plant clean and the soap gets rid of bugs. The old time Mothers always saved their dishwater and their laundry water for the garden plants in the summer. If you can find an old enamel dish pan at a sale this summer, you will have a ball doin’ the dishes the old fashioned way and saving the dishwater for the garden.

But, yes, save all the good paper that comes into your home and find ways to use it. You can use at least three times before discarding it. Just wipe it off and stack it neatly in the cupboard. Also, I use the ziplock bags and wash them with the dishes after each use. When the zip part wears off, I just take a cothes pin and seal them shut. You can prop the plastic bags up in the dish drainer to dry.

In the summer and fall, I often use a thick piece of newpaper to lay fresh melons or pumpkins on to cut them up. I use the paper like a cutting board. Then, after the melon is cut, I can carry the seeds and rind out to the compost bin on the newspaper. And you can throw the newspaper in the compost bin, too.

Also, as I work at my table, I will put a sheet of newspaper down to peel potatoes on. But with all the talk about germs on the cutting boards? Just use fresh newsprint for many of your cutting board chores. When the paper gets chopped and soggy, just get a new piece of newspaper … make sure it’s about an inch thick.

Ok, and now on to the fancy seed packets that you have left over after you plant the garden. If you are careful to cut the tops off neatly with the scissors, you can use the seed packets to decorate with. Just tape some cute ones in the kitchen window to tell you it is almost spring.

Of course, here in Iowa, we have had record snow storms in April. One year, in April 1973, I had my whole garden planted — it snowed 3 ft deep over the top. The peas and onions loved it. Last summer, I planted mustard greens and they lasted into December. It took a lot of frost to kill those greens.

You could use your empty seed packets like a border above the kitchen window. Or paste some seed packets on your tin cans or glass jars, for cute country storage jars. Also, you can use the seed packets for your sewing basket. Use a packet to store special buttons in, or a little ribbon or piece of lace. You could use one for storing needles and another one for straight pins. Just tack a bit of tape at the top to seal the packets shut. Or even take the seed packet and fill it with dirt and plant a flower in it and set it in a little chipped china cup.

With old chipped dishes, I make borders in my flower and herb gardens. I have an old wooden chair that I put right in the middle of my herb garden. I put old pans here and there and catch the rain water. Then, when I go by the garden, I just water what ever plant that is crying the hardest, with the pan of rain water.

Bein’ an old stingy housewife is fun and adventuresome. As long as you are gracious and loving with things that matter. The old time housewives saved every piece of string that came into the house, and all of the white paper that wrapped her groceries. The children used the paper to color on and Mother made grocery lists on it. Nothing was ever wasted. She saved empty cocoa cans and vanilla extract bottles for houseplants.

Well, I wanted to write about the ways the Mothers used feed sacks to sew their clothes with, but that will have to be for another day.

Monday is Wash Day

Today is wash day for Mother. I don’t do all my wash on Monday, but I do a good share of it.

The old time Mothers planned for Mondays. She started her bread on Sunday night and finished it early Monday morning. Mother made wash day soup. They could keep this soup in the oven all day and forget about it. They needed the top of the stove to heat wash water.

I read a recipe just lately in my Radio book called 6 Layer Wash Day Dinner. I am making it this morning. You take a baking pan, butter it and layer the bottom with cut up potatoes. Salt and pepper this and each additional layer. Ok, the next layer is a half cup rice … just sprinkle it over potatoes. The next layer is green pepper but I will use green beans. The next layer is hamburger cooked with an onion. The 5th layer is cut up carrots, and then the 6th is stewed tomatoes over the top. Now, if your juice from the stewed tomatoes doesn’t cover the whole casserole, then add some water so all the vegetables are covered in water. Then you bake it for 2 hrs in the oven at 350 degrees.

You could make this for a large family and use a big roaster to put this meal in. Just make sure you have enough liquid to cover the vegetables. Don’t drown it but make it juicy. You could make cornbread, or whatever, with this meal if ya don’t have your yeast bread goin’.

Now, this is the recipe basically. I wouldn’t put my oven on 350 — I would put it on 300. This is a meal that can wait on you and you don’t have to wait on it. I would let mine bake all day on a very low oven temp or until I got ready for it. Mine today has to be ready for noon. I just got it all made just now and put it in the oven on 300. We have to go to the store this morning at 9:00, so it will be about done before I leave. So I will put it on about 200 and it will just bake slowly. I won’t think much more about it, as it will be done for noon. I put tinfoil over the top of this.

We will have Baby to come for lunch and she loves vegetables. Papa doesn’t work until later today.

But, see, in the summer, the old time Mothers canned many quarts of stewed tomatoes. So a lot of the old recipes call for stewed tomatoes and other canned vegetables like green beans. Long about now, as spring is coming, Mother would try to make sure that she was using the canned vegetables in her cellar, and the root vegetables like carrots and onions and potatoes. She didn’t want to take her canned vegetables and fruits on into the next canning season. So this Wash Day meal is one Mother would be having at this time of the year, in March.

Another old time meal was just a quart of tomatoes with a package of macaroni and some onions. Plain, but a good way to use up the jars of stewed tomatoes. This, with homemade bread or a batch of baking powder biscuits, was what Mother would feed her brood of children for lunch while Papa was at work. To make this for your children, you could just make a package of mac and cheese and put a can of tomatoes over it. Add green beans, too, and some meat, if ya have some. But, you see, a lot of old casserole dishes put a quart of tomatoes over the top. Salt and pepper, and you are good to go.

Also, many Farm Mothers who milked cows each day added a lot of milk and homemade butter to their casseroles. So instead of adding water to the Wash Day dinner, you may want to add milk, and a pat of butter on the top. The milk will curdle if you bake it for hours in the oven, but I would like it like that. The old time Farm Mothers added a lot of milk and eggs and butter to all of their food. My Aunt and my mom, both raised on farms, have no idea of what a low fat diet is. My aunt put a whole stick of butter on a casserole for the four of us. Mom is 82 and my aunt is 86. Both of these women are as healthy as horses …not fat.

Well, I have to run to the store with Papa. I have my wash well on its way and dinner is in the oven.

Radio Homemakers

Ya know, the old time Mothers used to splash their faces with cold water when they first got up to look crisp and happy for their families in the morning. They would put on a fresh house dress and an apron and get about their kitchen duties. The old time catalogs used to have a section in them just for house dresses. These dresses were just a cotton print, pretty yet very serviceable. My grandmother wore these as she babysat for me and my brother. (Mother worked part of our growing up years.) Grandma wore a nice dress each day with her corset, and nice under slip. Polished black shoes and nylons. She had every day sewn up nylons for each day and nice nylon hose for when she went to town or church.

Yesterday, I went to a book store and got this book. I was familiar with it, as I had gotten it at the library a while back. Anyway, it is about these women who started this radio show back in the 1920s. It started out as a gardening show that this man Earl May began, as to give gardening tips. His wife had a part in it too giving household hints, etc. Well, so, out of this, it became a homemakers’ show. The book that tells about all of this is called Neighboring on the Air by Evelyn Birkby. Many different women had it at different times.

The book has the old time photos of these Mothers sitting at a little table in their kitchens with a microphone. They would tell about their recipes and have their daughters stir up the cake on the air, and you would hear the ting of the tin measuring spoons and cups, and the big wooden stirring spoon hitting the bowl as they mixed their cakes. Some of the radio shows were called “Kitchen Klatter” or “Mother’s Hour.” They would tell about their gardens or their cooking. Sometimes two women would run the show with two different gifts … one for gardening, and one for cooking and baking. But each morning, the mothers at home could turn on the radio to this show. It probably came on around 10 in the morning. I think it is still on, but not as good.

As I read this book yesterday, I kept showin’ Papa pictures in the book and reading parts of it. Jim and I both said that a lot of this reminded us of how I do this email machine. My e-machine is right out on my dining room cabinet. Often, as I cook, I write. My family dinner table is right beside me as I type.

But, ya know, when this Radio Homemakers Show started, it was so important to encourage these Mothers at Home. The Stock Market crash came in October of 1929. What a blessing these radio housewives must have been to the Mothers at home! The Depression was pretty much world wide. I think a lot of the women knew how to cook, but just needed the friendship of other Mothers. So many of the old time recipes just use every day ingredients, like flour and shortening and milk and eggs.

In the beginning, women who ran these radio shows were Farm Wives whose folks had been pioneers. Ya know, many folks during the Depression era lost their homes and went back to the land to survive. What an encouragement it must have been to turn the radio on and get knowlege about gardening, etc. To just know that they were not alone in this fight for survival.

Well, then, later on in the 1940s, the ladies put out a small magazine called “Kitchen Klatter.” I collect these and have a nice collection of them. But, ya know, the different magazines like “Crowned with Silver” and Peggy’s newsletter remind me of these old time publications. I am happy to do what I do, as I feel it is needed in this age. Sharon on our group has a wonderful magazine, too, and, also, the lady that puts out “Kindred Spirits” is another good one. “Above Rubies” is good, too. Our group represents a lot of good literature. Well, of course, Barbara Swell is on our group, too, and writes wonderful books on old time homemaking. But the Stay at Home Mothers of today need a lot of encouragement.

Later on, this radio program became a “call in show.” I used to listen to one, myself, back in the 1980s … not this one but one like it. Mothers would call in and share a recipe or household hint. Or someone would call in and ask for a recipe, and then someone else would call in with the recipe. It was fun to get the children off to school and then do some home chores and get ready to listen to my radio program.

This was before I homeschooled. Back in the 70s and early 80s, our little neighborhood school was pretty decent. Many of the teachers were Christians. The teachers were as the mother’s arm extended. Well, in Iowa, anyway. I mean, you could call the teacher anytime during the day to ask her a question or whatever. And the teachers stayed after school to help the children with their school work. But not now, believe me.

And, ya know, now days, I am tellin’ you what? Those Dollar Stores are such an encouragement. Every time Jim and I go, I tell him, “Man alive! They never had stuff like this when our kids were all home.” I mean, even back in the 70s, Vaseline was like over 2 bucks, and band-aids were about 3 or 4 bucks. A lot of every day stuff you had to have was so high in price. The 70s, around here, was like an end of an era of name brands. Now you can buy a lot of cheaper store brands. But, back then, you couldn’t. I mean, some of we poor Mothers at home went without a lot of the basic things that we really needed. We would loan each other a glob of Vaseline or hand lotion. I remember praying for coffee mugs. I had thought of just using tin cans to drink out of. I did start using glass jars. The wages were very low and the prices were high. I mean, I think, back in the 70s, early 80s Jim made like $3.50 an hour, and Vaseline cost almost 3 bucks? I mean, who is gonna buy it?

But now, heck, you can buy all kinds of shampoo and conditioner, etc. for a buck. You can get dishes galore for hardly nothin’. Also, the garage sales weren’t like they are now, and the Salvation Army wasn’t nearly as sophisticated. I mean, back in the 70s, you had to be rockin’ and rollin’ to pray stuff in that you needed. I remember getting up in the night and praying for socks and mittens and hats for the children when winter came. I mean, now, you can go to the Dollar Store and get a stocking hat for a buck and gloves for pretty cheap.

I know a lot of the grocery prices have gone up, too. But I think eggs, for instance, around here, can go as low in price as 29¢ a dozen and, back in the Depression era, they were higher than that.

But, anyway, I do thank the Lord for all the Dollar stores. The Bible speaks of Wisdom crying in the streets. To me, the Dollar Stores are one of the answers to her cry. I mean, in the old days, we always used the pliers to get the rest of the toothpaste out of the tube. Buyin’ tooth paste was a big deal … often, I used salt or baking soda if were ran out. And I saved every wrapper that came into the house. I even saved candy bar wrappers to wrap food in, and, of course, bread sacks to put leftovers in.

If we took one of the kids with us to the grocery store, we would buy them a candy bar as a special treat. God knows we couldn’t buy one for each kid. And we would make them swear they wouldn’t tell about it. But you know kids. John would say at the dinner table, in front of the other kids, “Well, Mom, I can’t eat my dinner, as I am full … you know why, Mom, right?” And I would try to make him be quiet. But he would keep it up. Or he would accidently on purpose drop his candy wrapper on the floor when we got home from the store. And the other kids would wail, “Johnny got a candy bar?” I would say, “Yes, and you can get one next time you go with us.”

Christian Joy learned to make taffy. She was good at it, too. I made a lot of fudge for the kids. But if we wanted something, we got out in the kitchen and made it. I always made sure we had sugar on hand and basic stuff to make things with.


This site is an introduction to the Evelyn Birkby Collection of Radio Homemaker Materials held at the Iowa Women’s Archives, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa. Site Contents include:

Crowned With Silver – Godly Homemaking Wisdom from Bygone Eras

Lives of Simplicity – Women of Simplicity was founded in August of 2001 to minister to women in Titus 2 fashion. What started out as one list called Lives of Simplicity, which is the foundational list, has since grown into a multi-faceted ministry with several lists to meet the needs of Christian women.

Shalom Bayit was created to help families love their husbands, love their children and find peace and joy in being a keeper at home.

Above Rubies – Articles about motherhood, childbirth, and breastfeeding from a Christian viewpoint.

19th Century Cooking, Historic Recipes and Folklore – Step into Barbara Swell’s kitchen as she dishes up delicacies from times past. Her best-selling cookbooks are packed with historic old-time recipes and cooking methods, kitchen proverbs, folk remedies, romantic advice, autograph rhymes, food insults, table manners, vintage photos, and more than a cupfull of homegrown humor.

Sour Dough Crackers

Well, I am late to my writing this morning. Jim is off today, so we will do something later … go some place, I think. Jim is doing some chores about the house right now, and I am just puttering and getting my day started. Jim put a sack of apples on the table and is hinting to beat the band about an apple pie. So I will make one today.

Also, my sour dough bread didn’t turn out at all yesterday. I got in a big hurry with it. I should have baked it earlier. Well, Papa got in a big hurry to go someplace and to take me with him? So I put the pan of bread in the oven and turned up it to 500

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