Friday, June 24, 2011

Painting My Refrigerator

Know what I love about my husband? He trusts in my creative talents, so when I say crazy things like "Can I paint the refrigerator?" He says SURE! OK, well maybe not at first, but once I explained I've researched the process and I'm sure I can do it, THEN he says sure! Only I'm not sure if that sure is a, "I sure hope you know what your doing" sure or, "Sure if you screw it up we can get the stainless steel fridge I've been wanting for the last year" kinda sure... in either case, I'll take that sure and run with it!

This refrigerator is the second major purchase we bought together when we moved to Georgia... the first being our house. 14 years later, and one house later, it's still alive and kicking. Normally, that would be a good thing, only when we purchased our second home, we got an appliance allowance and we spent it (and more) on the three required appliances: an oven, microwave, and dishwasher. Yep, amazingly a fridge is not considered something that has to be put in to pass inspection. We've lived here for seven years now, and it's very hard for me to justify purchasing a new fridge just because it doesn't match the rest of the appliances... plus having four children means that we usually don't  have an extra couple grand to toss around just for kicks and giggles. 

Recently my parents and I took a couple of days to repaint the interior of my home to a beautiful light blue color. (Sherwin Williams, Bewitching Blue) It certainly has me spellbound and I just LOVE it! It's such a fresh color, but yet instantly seems to take me back in time to the 40's and 50's when homeowners used an abundance of color throughout their homes. Paired with the freshly white trim throughout the house, it's got a beachy, yet regal historical feel to it... at least that's my thoughts. ;) Loving the color so much, it has inspired me to tackle other decorating ideas that I've been wanting to try! 

The inspiration for my fridge re-do comes not only from the new wall color, but also from my Kitchen Aid mixer, in the lovely Empire Red color!

The goal for the fridge is to come out looking very similar to the shiny high gloss red of the mixer... keeping details like the chrome for accents. 

Oh, and if you think that updating your fridge is a new idea? Nope! Check out this 1953 ad for a International Harvester Decorator Refrigerator:

1 3/4 yards of fabric and 7 minutes later, you too could have a swanky new fridge! One has to wonder how fabric managed to hold up?! After doing my research, I've found people are wallpapering their fridges too and painting them with chalkboard paint! Craziness... what has the world come too?! ;) 

I hope you'll follow me on my journey as I transform my boring white fridge to (hopefully!) a retro red and chrome masterpiece! 


Research, research, and research! Depending on the make/model and style of your refrigerator you want to make sure that you research the appropriate paints to use. My unit has metal, plastic and rubber. You want to use paints specially designed to adhere to the right surfaces... I mean, not a good idea to pull on the door handle and end up with half the paint flaking off onto your hands.... gross! Do the research and understand that this is a project that is going to require PATIENCE! If you don't have it, best to probably skip this project! You'll need to at least do 3 coats of paint as well as a possible primer, if you deem your fridge needs that. 

Next part of the project? Clean. I mean cleeeeeaaaannnnnn that refrigerator inside and out! No dirt allowed! You don't want to paint over dirt as it will affect the coating, and you certainly don't want an awesome looking outside only to open it up and freak out over the inside! Take the time now to thoroughly clean it with soap and water first (I added a bit of baking soda to my mix).

Try and search out your make/model on the internet and see if you can figure out how to remove your doors, handles, and ice maker (if available).

Here's my refrigerator before: (Ekkk... look at that bottom grill--- nasty! Things you just don't notice til you get the camera out!! And who knew you were supposed to vacuum behind that to keep your fridge energy efficient? Not me!)

Step One: Clean the refrigerator outside with soap and water.... making sure to pull it into an area where you have plenty of room to work. If you are going to spray paint your refrigerator, be sure to take the unit outside! I plan on rolling mine with a foam roller.

Notice, I've taken the front plate off the ice maker and removed the four screws that held the plate on, cleaned all the gunk and grime from deep in the ice maker (so gross... I promise our next fridge will NOT have this feature!) You'll also notice the plastic in the ice maker area has yellowed over the years... I've got an idea on how I'm going to fix that, but I'm not liking the amount of work involved, so I'm just taking everything step by step...

Cleaning the inside is just as important as cleaning the outside... Most importantly, don't go to the grocery store before attempting this project. In fact, plan to eat out a few nights because your going to have to remove everything!!

So, is it time to paint now? Nope... time to clean it AGAIN.... I know, sounds dreadful, but you need to clean it with this product:

It's available at Home Depot for $5. It deglosses, degreases, and basically---- makes the unit able to absorb the paint... (this along with a light sanding, so don't forget your low grade sandpaper when you go to the Depot!)

So this is where I'm at now.... cleaning..... still! ;) I'll keep you posted as I continue with my fridge makeover!

While I'm cleaning, take a lovely look at some of these red beauties.... the first one is my favorite... but with a price tag of $2000 and only 9.22 cu ft., it's not really an option for this large family....

 The Big Chill is awesome... and with an awesome BASE price tag of $2,800... hay, at least it's 20.9 cu. ft. ;P
 The LG red floral beauty, boasts a beautiful price tag of $4,299... 

and how about a 1946 original White Westinghouse red beauty?
My goal is to spend no more than $50 to transform my fridge into one that will rival one of these grand beauties!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Anna Maria's Housekeeping - Part 1

I'm reading this really great book from Hearth's Home Economic's Archive called "Anna Maria's Housekeeping", circa 1884.

The book is written from an older housekeeper's viewpoint, explaining to young Anna Maria the vital details and importance of keeping house. It is written in a no nonsense tone, which I love. It really gives you an inspirational kick in the pants, especially when you read how just how involved it was to make a cup of tea in 1884! 

I've been jotting down some of the household hints that jumped out at me, and thought I'd share them with you! (Some are paraphrased)

  • Time yourself as you do your housework... make it a contest to beat your last time.
  • Begin practicing the art of housework at 13.
  • You must resolve to take the responsibility of the work. It's no small thing to be the head of affairs and be the motive power on which depend the welfare and credit, the health, temper and spirit of the whole family.
  • It takes a genius to be a first rate housekeeper. A woman of third-rate will "let things go" and make up all sorts of cleaver sounding excuses for her shiftlessness, and even make a virtue of neglect pretending she lets them slip for matters of higher importance. [ouch!]
  • Women of keen mind finds neglect intolerable.
  • Tomorrow always begins the night before, and you can't get the good of your day without planning for it.
  • Secret of a good day is a good breakfast.
  • Really good food [nutritious] helps one do the most work with the least fatigue.
  • It takes a clever person to spend money well.
  • Wisdom makes a woman a good manager.
  • Never waste is the good housekeepers rule.
  • Food spoilage is a big waste factor.
  • Tea time is taken to feel revived and refreshed.
  • Don't be afraid to spend a little extra on creature comforts that will help you in the long run.
  • No decent house has ugly, ill-smelling things anywhere on the premises.
  • Learn to despise the housekeeping which is satisfied with pretty parlor and chambers, while the closets are unswept and musty. Dread it because it causes ill health.
  • Through cleanliness in every room and corner from door step to roof top is what you must extract before you lay pretty carpets, hang illuminated motto's, and fill the windows with flowers and the shelves with books and china.
  • Nor is strict neatness going to take up all your time and strength as foolish women try to persuade you.
  • A woman in good health ought to equal to taking care of a small house in the best manner and have half her day off for study, visits, and needlework. 
  • Women who find housekeeping tiresome and dragging is because they never half learn it and partially because they have made up their minds to hate it. 
  • The first step to comfort is to make things clean; the next is to learn how to keep them so.
  • A well bred woman never wears anything not suited to her work
  • You can train yourself to do all the work of a house without fatigue by taking breaks at intervals. For every 15 minutes of work, rest 5.
  • Dust irritates the lungs to breathe. It is poison.
  • Do the painstaking work once--- then maintain it so you'll never have to do it again.
  • Prevention is better than cure.
  • A bad smell is nature's warning of something evil and dangerous.
  • If the highest motives have weight with you, remember that as mistress of the house, you are bound before God to watch over every point that can affect the health of those under your roof in food, comfort, and cleanliness.
  • Let no one with pettier views persuade you either that such care is beneath you as a lady.
  • When you make beds in the morning, let it be with a clean apron and freshly washed hands.
  • Spring cleaning should be done by May 1st at the farthest.
  • One law in this household is executed with the fidelity of a dragon-- if dragons are faithful as supposed-- and that is to allow no crumbs or smears, and no trace of eatables about the place, outside the proper rooms and proper hours. 
  • There is no need of children running about with smeary fingers and slices of bread and butter, for they can learn before they can speak to eat in the proper places and wash their hands when they are through. 
  • Food should be put away and crumbs cleaned off the table before dishes are done (which should be soaking all the time)
  • Air out the dining room so smells can leave it.
Did you catch a few good points from the elderly housekeeper? I'll share more as I continue with the next half of the book....

Happy Housekeeping~

Thursday, March 24, 2011

1940's Spring Fashion

March 24, 1940

So I've spent yesterday absolutely drooling over vintage fashions! Oh the hats, the shoes, the purses, the shoes, the undergarments, the shoes, the dresses, the shoes, the swim wear, and um, did I mention... the shoes?! Seriously, I don't know which category I like best! I think the key to wearing vintage fashion is understanding your style, or in my case, what I'd like my style to be! For example, I love... really do LOVE the 1950's bell style dresses, only one thing... I don't think I could get accustomed to wearing them out (at least I feel this way now). As a society, we've gotten so casual in our dress, that I think wearing a bell dress out in public, might make me look like a old prom queen... and not quite sure my kids could appreciate the stares! As I find myself slowly sinking into this project my mind may change, but I do think my style would fit easily into the 1940's. 

In 1940, the US fashion designers were following the trends of Paris. Since Paris designers were under fabric restrictions due to the war, the designs tended to be narrower, shorter, boxed shoulders, and synthetic fabrics were used, since all natural fabrics were used by the government. The US designers found themselves under fabric restrictions once the US joined the fight in 1941. They could no longer take cues from Paris for fashion ideas, since they had their own restrictions to work with. The American Fashion Industry flourished at this time, especially the sportswear industry. The only garments that did not have fabric restrictions were wedding garments and infant garments. In the 50's when bell dresses became popular, it was due to the new found freedoms given designers that the war was over and they could use however much fabric they deemed necessary! 

Knowing a bit of style history is key if your going to wear vintage...especially 40's vintage, because the times really did affect the clothing design! Besides, the key is to look classy and smart! That being said, let's check out fashion for Spring 1940!

Spring Fashion 1940

The look hasn't changed very much from the late 1930's. The skirts will just cover the knee and the shoulders will be emphasized. Angular lines are commonly used (and will be throughout the upcoming war years!) 

It's A Patriotic Spring! Our new clothes will shout "Hello America!" with red, white, and blues! Reds are warm, white's are crisp, and our blues are navy! Rayon prints are found in casual dresses. Classic styling includes a button down the front dress, the fly-front dress, hand knit yokes and sleeves, and big pockets. Evening sweaters and casual dresses are a must for this spring!

Here are some great spring '40 color combinations!

TROPICOLE ROSE paired with navy [I guess we'll all have to imagine what tropicole (yes, spelled right) rose looks like]

SCANDAL RED- warm, not to brilliant accented with blue.

GOLD DUST is a fresh color for dark blue

BALENCIAGA TAN- is a color you can wear with almost anything because it is neutral in tone.

MILITARY BLUE- is a cross between gray and french blue, a soft color to add to a very deep navy.

SPRING GREENS- includes scallions (green and white combination), artichoke green (soft gray green), Pepper green (goes well with pepper red), Cabbage green (yell0w-green)

A crisp, fresh, frosty white shirt adorned with lace, yokes, ruffles or even a bit of baby black ribbon will be a smart addition to any spring wardrobe!

As far as shoes are concerned, a woman should own at least five types of shoes: walking (sports shoe), "comfort", afternoon (dressy, high heeled), shopping (dressy, low-heeled), and party. You should have a heal height for every occasion and a color for every costume. Last but not least, every pair needs to be comfortable.

Spring '40 Makeup Fashion

You should spend at least 15 minutes on your makeup to get professional results.

Start with a clean face!

When applying powder foundations, don't skip eyes and neck like many women do. Don't leave smears near your ears and hairline.

No apple cheeks! Rouge should be blended in so well that there are no distinct lines and it should appear to just be a faint tint on the cheeks.

Stroke eyeshadow on in an upward manner. Shadows should be light and fresh.

Powder generously!! Pat your powder on with a puff, then using a brush, brush off any excess powder.

Next, attend to your eyebrows and lashes!

Vivid color on your lips will make a lovely focal point on your face. Use a lip liner to draw the outer line. Choosing a lipstick color can be quite an adventure! You can get anything from a soft, shy pink to a deep, rich pomegranate. 

If you wear black, white or gray try a brilliant, live red! 

If you wear yellow-green, orangy-reds, or brown, don't be afraid to try exotic coppery-rose shades that have a hint of orange.

When you wear blue (which is the #1 color choice this season) choose a blue-red lipstick, tender pink, or dahlia shades.

Here's an article on Spring Cleaning Your Face, A Beauty Routine: (click on the image to enlarge)

When creating, or adding to your wardrobe, it's nice to consider what the latest seasonal fashions and colors are, but more importantly, it's important to make sure that what your wearing flatters you. 

My Personal Spring Style

I am a self-taught seamstress, so fortunately, I can pull out the sewing machine and whip up a few spring dresses. Here is one of the patterns I plan on using this spring:

I love the design of the white/green one... I'd wear it as is, even with red rick-rack, and I never thought I'd wear rick rack... great way to add an accessory color! 

I also have some old mail-order sewing patterns that I plan on using. 

Building A Wardrobe

If you are just starting to build your vintage wardrobe (like me), here is an article from Glamour Daze blog which shares the details of a young girl's blossoming wardrobe. You can check out Glamour Daze blog which explains each of the types of dresses. (Original content--- 1927, Clothing for Girls by Elizabeth Todd). You should have:

2 felt hats
1 straw hat
1 winter coat
1 summer coat [yikes! I live in Hot-lanta, it gets 90+ here, do I really need a summer coat?!]

1 evening dress (rayon)
2 afternoon dresses (rayon)
2 street dresses (wool)
2 street dresses (rayon)
2 house dresses (cotton)

2 slips (rayon)
2 girdles
3 brassieres
3 panties (rayon)

2 pairs of street shoes- Oxfords
1 pair of dress shoes

1 bathrobe (cotton)
3 pajamas (cotton)
3 pairs of stockings (rayon)
1 pair of slippers (leather)
1 pair of galoshes
2 sets of gloves (leather)
1 handbag

Total cost for all of these items would be $112.00 or, in 2011, that would equal $1424.52

Now, remember, this list was for a young girl, a woman would have added to her costumes, especially if she follows the rule of purchasing items with classic lines instead of trendy items. Remember the other shoe article referred to a woman owning at minimum 5 pairs of shoes where this article only mentions 3! Well.... I was debating on what fashion category I liked best, and I think it *IS* shoes.... or maybe hats..... oh in either case, what fun it'll be building a wardrobe throughout the upcoming seasons!


Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday: Laundry Day

Ah, Monday. Known for being laundry day. Also being known for being the beginning of the work week... drudgery, back to the grind, hard work begins and fun ends. Yes, I think Monday's got their bad reputations from housewives who for centuries had to lug out laundry and scrub, scrub, scrub all day long. 

Steady progress was being made in the area of laundry in 1940, women were no longer hand cranking the rinse cycle or scrubbing on wash boards, but it was far from the ease that we have today! (And laundry is STILL one of the top things I don't enjoy doing, but how previous generations would relish what we have today!) Here's a brief 15 second clip of a 40's housewife feeding ONE piece of clothing through the rinser... could you imagine doing each piece of clothing in your laundry pile? I've got six people who make A LOT of laundry, this most certainly would take all day, I would be more picky about the clothing I allowed to stay in the house!

Most housewives would have to use the kitchen and turn it into a laundry room for the day. I'm sure this effected Monday night's dinner if you weren't careful in scheduling your time! This is one instance, I am grateful for today's technology! My washer and dryer are both new front loaders which have computer chips to detect cycles and can even detect problems with the unit! If for some reason either unit should fail to work, I can call a telephone number, put the phone to the washer, push a selected button pattern and then it will beep a certain way, letting the automated system on the phone tell me what the issue is with the unit! Now, that must have been such a far out, space age idea for these ladies! (Honestly, it still really is with me!)

Saturday, I posted about making my own homemade detergent and how I was going to give it the ultimate challenge.... my son's baseball pants! These would have to rank as the hardest thing to wash in our house. Georgia red clay can take it's toll on clothing... don't believe me? Well, just visit any gift shop in Atlanta, and you'll find the "Georgia Red Clay Shirt". This shirt isn't dyed, it's color is made up of 100% GA Red Clay!

 I took a good amount of pictures so you could see how it all came out. You can click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Here are his pants after the game, BEFORE washing:

Thankfully no sliding today, so it made my job a bit easier. ;P Close up image of the ground in dirt:

I read also how the blue bottle of Dawn dish detergent works as a great spot treater. As I would have normally pre-treated these stains, I decided to do spot treat the left side with Fels-Naptha, and the right side with Dawn.

So, how did it come out? You be the judge!

There was still some dirt on the side that I used the Dawn as a spot treater as shown in the pic below. I think I'll just use the Fels-Naptha as a spot treater (which was super easy to do, just spray with water, rub the bar on the spot, let sit for minute, toss in wash)

Overall, I am very impressed with my new detergent (thankfully since the recipe makes 10 gallons!) 

I hope all of these photo's help you decide whether or not to try out the recipe for yourself. I know it's easy to hear people rave over things, but I always like to see results before investing a bunch of time and energy into something. If you try out this recipe, be sure to let me know what you think!

Back to laundering~

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

March 19, 1940

The war overseas is still going on strong. The French Prime Minister Daladier has resigned due to his failure to defend Finland in the Winter War. He is replaced by Paul Reynaud.

French Prime Minister Daladier

 Yesterday Mussolini decided to join Hitler in the war against France and Britain.

As war was on the rise in 1940, it's easy to relate it to 2011, as today, in the modern world, the US launched strikes against Qaddafi's Air Defenses in Libya. In both years, the world was at unrest and in turmoil.

On the home front, one can't help but to think of such unrest, listening to the radio to hear the latest news, but life must continue on. Today I've been focusing on my laundry. I know it isn't Monday, but I really had to get a head start on it, as I'd like to begin focusing on getting my laundry room in order.

I made some homemade laundry detergent and am washing the first load of towels in it now. Here is the recipe I used:


4 cups of hot tap water
1- Fels Naptha soap bar
1 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (must have sodium carbonate)
1/2 cup Borax

  • Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over med-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
  • Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda, and Borax. Stir until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let it sit overnight to thicken.
  • Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and the rest of the way with water. Shake before each use as it will gel.
Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. You can also add the essential oil directly to the individual containers to vary the scent. Number of drops would depend upon the size of the container used.

Yield: Liquid soap makes 10 gallons. 

Front Loader: Use 1/4c. per load
Top Loader: 5/8c. per load

Safe for HE washers.

So far in my experience, as the washer has just finished, the smell is well... just Downy. (That's the fabric softener I used). It doesn't have a strong smell, just a fresh, clean smell. (Which I'm thankful for, as I found while making it, that the Fels-Naptha was a bit on the strong side!) Fast forward and they are out of the dryer. The Downy smell isn't as strong as it was when it came out of the washer. The scent on the towels is very light, and it is a fresh, clean scent. I can't really put my finger on a name for the scent, just perhaps a linen type smell. I did not use any essential oil in this batch since I haven't had a chance to get to the shop that sells it. So far, I'm quite impressed and think that this detergent did an equally good job as my regular detergent. Of course, it's towels so I didn't have any highly dirty or stained items, so I'll further test those types of items and let you know how that works out! 

Few tid-bits about the soap used in this detergent:
  • Fels-Naptha is over 100 years old! It's a time tested stain remover and pre-treater.  It's also great for treating poison ivy!
  • Arm & Hammer Washing Soda has been around since 1874. It is quoted on the box as saying "Improves Liquid Laundry Detergent performance by up to 40%!" It is also a household cleaner and says it's tough on grease, oils, crayons, etc. It is sudsless. It neutralizes and eliminates odors. Perfume free. Says it removes clay (wonder if that includes Georgia's finest red clay?!). It's all-natural.
  • Borax has been around since 1891. Removes stains, neutralizes odors. All natural laundry booster and multi-purpose household cleaner. Harmless to washing machines, plumbing and septic tanks. Removes hard water minerals. Can also be added to your dishwasher to boost cleaner power of dishwasher detergents. Deodorizes.
Since all of these soaps have been around for quite some time, it's funny how advertising over the years has made us think that only commercially made products are capable of cleaning our clothes. Add the fact that the washing soda and Borax are also good household cleaners, your looking at a lot of savings throughout the cleaning aisle! Normally I use Tide to clean my clothes, but Tide didn't come on the market until 1943... For fun, here's an old Tide commercial. Of course advertisers wanted you to believe there was no cleaner clean under the sun!

I'll keep updating you as to how it works! The biggest test I can give it is my son's white baseball pants that just met the red clay.... stay tuned!

Happy Laundering!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Getting into the Habit of Good Habits

Developing good habits is exactly what the main purpose of this project is. I have lots of habits, some good, some bad. It's a way of self-improvement, after all, don't we all need a bit of self improvement every now and again? I watched a video yesterday from the Prelinger Archives about poor Barbara. Barbara was a creature of bad habits. After watching this video, I couldn't help but to hear that condescending voice this morning as my alarm went off once again to rise and shine to make the family breakfast, "Unfortunately BARBARA you've got some bad habits. This is how your day started, it started WRONG! Your neighbor Helen, she's a creature of habit too, but she got up when the alarm went off because BARBARA, that what she had in mind when she SET IT". I think that's forever embedded in my head. Poor Barbara. Poor Me!

According to the Good Housekeeping 1946 October issue, here's a few BAD habits that can affect your good looks:

Yes, I have a couple of these bad habits too, especially the reading late at night, which is probably, like Barbara, the reason why I like to hit the snooze alarm too! My next goal will be to work on going to bed at a certain hour and waking up at a certain hour EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK. According to a few sleep studies, if you get into the habit of waking up everyday at the same time, your body becomes it's own alarm clock, and you'll just naturally wake up at that hour. Well, one can hope, right? Waking up and not feeling tired would be great too.

In that same issue, they have a list of habits that you should do in the morning, and the evening. 

Morning Habits:
  • Get out of bed and drink one big glass of water
  • Brush teeth carefully
  • Wash your face gently with a clean washcloth, mild soap, and warm water. Splash on a cool toner and open your eyes. [They know me well, I do everything in the morning with my eyes closed]
  • Put on a bit of powder to take away the soap and water shine.
  • Put on some bright, pretty lipstick
  • Brush out all night time tangles from your hair, comb into place, pinning securely.
  • Take a last look.... are you impeccable from head to toe [always! lol!]
Now here are the evening habits:

  • Get out of your clothes and into the tub! Coat yourself throughly with a sudsy lather and don't spare the elbow grease. [seriously, i'm THAT dirty?!] Rinse well. Do face separately at the bathroom faucet.
  • Rub yourself dry so that you tingle all over and chest and back turn a healthy pink
  • Don't forget about deodorant under your arms!
  • Give your crowning glory a good swishing of the brush, dampen ends and pin hair up.
  • Brush teeth carefully
  • Down with a nice, big glass of water and off to bed!
As well they give weekly habits:

  • Shampoo and rinse hair six or seven times until it squeaks clean [no way, six or SEVEN times?!] Perhaps you might need a little bit of vinegar or lemon juice to bring out the "sunlit" luster. [um, honey, what's that vinegar smell?]
  • Clip toenails
  • File fingernails, push back cuticles, apply polish that matches your lipstick
  • De-fuzz legs and underarms.
  • Pluck scraggly eyebrows
  • Go over clothes and mend, clean, and brush as necessary.

 I'm not sure how I'm going to plan the next mission as it seems that good morning habits begin with good evening habits. Something to think about as I start to come to the end of my first mission. 

As far as the outcome of Mission: Breakfast, I think overall it's been a success. I have woken up and everyone has eaten a healthy breakfast. Sure there were a few grumbles along the way, but a few highlights as well. I've found our youngest daughter wants to eat "strawberries and wheat" [shredded wheat] nearly everyday and after she gets home from school. I do feel good about making sure they are eating well, although I'm still working out how to get the kids all at the table at once. Their night time routines will have to change too, to make for better morning routines. Overall, I think we are off to a great start and as we continue, the kinks will work themselves out. 

I think the key to developing habits is to take it slow and easy. They say habits form in 14 days... I think in my case it maybe longer. I'd love for the habits I form to come naturally.... I'm all for giving it my best shot!

How are your habits? Do you have any habits your trying to change or things your trying to incorporate into your daily schedule? 


Monday, March 14, 2011

Mission: Breakfast

One thing I love about Jitterbug's blog posts are the fact that she has weekly missions. Sometimes these missions end up going longer than a week, at least until she feels they begin to feel like a habit. Knowing my personality, this is exactly the way I need to approach my project.

photo taken December 1944

The first mission is... breakfast! Why breakfast? Because in order to start anything during the day, the body needs fuel. No sense puttering around on an empty stomach! In the 1940's housewives were taught the value of making a healthy, nutritious breakfast. Without breakfast Jim is irritable at work, he can't concentrate fully and his work suffers, his boss notices how Jim seems to just "not be in it", and offers that promotion to Bob instead. In the evenings he's so fatigued he doesn't want to romp with the children! Jimmy Jr. suffers in school without a hearty, healthy breakfast... his mind doesn't want to focus on his numbers when he lacks energy and is so run down. Even when the guys ask him to play ball he seems to run around the bases slower than molasses! Poor Jimmy Jr.! If mom skips breakfast she'll be paying for it all morning... she's so sluggish that getting her morning routine done is overly exhausting... no time for afternoon pick me up naps, there's still so much that needs to be done before Jim gets home! The cupcakes for the school party?! Oh no, mom has completely forgot about it because her mind just isn't as sharp as it would be with a nice, well rounded breakfast.

Ah, while my story maybe 1940's fiction, it is true. Without a healthy breakfast it makes tackling the day even tougher! 2011 me, would say that doughnuts, prepackaged muffins, marshmallow cereals, honey buns, etc. all fit on the breakfast menu. They're easy to toss to the kids as they went out the door, but after studying a bit on the nutritional value (or lack there of), these sugar filled goodies did nothing but actually cause a "worse case scenario"... by pumping the body full of sugar treats, when the sugar crash came (as it always does) it leaves the family more tired than if they ate nothing at all!

So what are the 1940 options for breakfast? Of course there is always eggs and bacon, but here's a few 40's cereal ads:

All of these cereals are still available today, although my husband believes that feeding him Weetabix would equal torture.

So, how is the mission fairing? Well Sunday my husband had to work, so it was an off day, but nevertheless I managed to wake up at 6am, scramble eggs, make toast, and open a can of pears. Not bad to start. I do have to say also that it was quite peaceful, romantic even, to eat breakfast at such an early hour with the hubby. It was different, and something I could really get used to doing.

Today is considered an "off day" too, because the hubby was off work, so breakfast was for the kid's only today. They ate bite sized shredded wheat with strawberries and a glass of orange juice.

Now, the one thing that is rather concerning to me, is how the 1940's wife managed to get everyone fed. Did everyone leave at the same time? Our family's schedule looks like this:

Hubby leaves at 6:30a
Daughter leaves at 7a
Son leaves at 7:30a
I leave to take daughter to pre K at 7:45a
Son leaves at 7:55a

So, you see, the time frame for everyone waking up is different and mornings are generally just scattered all over. It works with cereal, because I can make each bowl, omitting the milk until the person's time to eat, but what about a hot breakfast? Did the 40's housewife make it at one setting? Surely she couldn't make breakfast 4-5 times, especially when housekeeping manuals spoke of the important of being efficient with your time. Was she to reheat for each person? Microwaves certainly weren't available, so was it placed in the oven at a low temp to keep warm? I wonder.....

These are obstacles that I will have to over come because morning is such a hectic time for us. I've also learned that preparing for the morning the night before is extremely helpful. When a little one washes dishes, it's important she actually *run* the dishwasher otherwise hand washing will take valuable time! Also making lunches as much as possible the night before saves time when you need to prepare breakfast.

My mission this week is to also find out from the kids how they feel energy wise and if eating a healthy breakfast makes them feel as if they have more energy to go about their day.

Tomorrow's menu? Ham, Eggs, Pineapple & Milk

Tomorrow will also be my first 'normal' day as hubby goes back to his M-F schedule for awhile, and kid's will be off to school.