January and February are when the sun shines brightest in my kitchen and I create new recipes. As Julia Child said, with cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude. I decided that I wanted to make a delicious, healthy breakfast cleverly disguised as a decadent dessert layer cake. Why haven’t I done this sooner, anyway? With organic oats, eggs, Greek yogurt, bananas, dates, a twist of Meyer lemon juice (Wayne’s brother gifts us lemons every year from their tree in California) and a few other secret specifics I did it! It’s light and lovely!Continue reading “Layer Cake for Breakfast, Controversial Homemakers”
I’ve always enjoyed homemaking and I miss writing about it! Even when I was living in the most unlikeliest of places for being a homemaker–a small bedroom in a housing project while growing up, a dorm room, the tiny Vermont house no bigger than a shed I lived in during grad school, it didn’t matter. I’ve always created and managed a budget whether on a piece of scrap paper, spreadsheet or software. I furnished my home with antiques and vintage items bought for a dime or dollars at yard sales. A carpet remnant I bought at an outlet on East 64th street with money I made from pet-sitting and carried home on the Tramway to Roosevelt Island covered ugly black asbestos tiles in my childhood bedroom.Continue reading “If It’s Home, Make It Homey”
We had a great day today outside enjoying life at home. Wayne got the raised garden beds ready for the tomatoes and mowed while I pruned and trimmed the hedges and shrubs. We had the kind of glorious weather every Mainer dreams about all winter.
May hasn’t been very gracious. Saturday temps were in the 30s with blustery winds, snow and rain. Sunday was sunny but still cold.
When the going gets tough, the tough get groovy. I decided that I wouldn’t let the boorish behavior of some clouds and weather patterns get us down. I threw two parties for two, the first of which was late Saturday afternoon right before the Lawrence Welk Show on PBS.
For the first time since mid-March I went to a store. I knew it would be different, but it was exceptionally unpleasant even though it was a plant nursery. The locally owned nursery from which we usually buy our vegetable plants and offers home delivery or curbside pickup didn’t have the two tomato varieties that are our favorites–Lemon Boys and Beefsteaks, so I went to Lowe’s. Although the nursery is mostly outdoors they forced people to first walk through the store instead of directly entering. The woman at the register was not distancing from me and they aren’t set up so that you still have to use the gross stylus pen to approve the purchase, something that has grossed me out long before the pandemic. A chipmunk popped out from nowhere as I was paying so that helped me feel more at peace. Also it was very windy so my nose began to run underneath my mask!
OK, enough whining. Here are a few ways I’m reusing some old things laying around for gardening tasks!
Many of us who are stuck inside small urban homes during quarantine (or any time!) may find ourselves wishing we had some nature within reach. My dear friend and Bostonite Stephanie moved to Italy many years ago and created a green oasis on her chic Florence balcony. I’m very grateful that she was so generous to share her story and beautiful photos with us here on Simple Living New England. Come see her flowers, fruit trees, bird friends and more for inspiration!
Traditional Yankee thrift isn’t obsessed with money. It’s not frugal for the sake of frugal or only buying things on sale. It values mindfulness of priorities, adeptness at record-keeping and investing, yes, but doesn’t make spending or not spending the only focus of one’s existence. It’s not frugal in all things which is why one can be affluent yet still enjoy this fine art of living that involves creativity, intelligence and self-confidence. Only those who worry about status will spend money in an effort to “keep up” and impress in ways that go beyond taking a healthy pride in one’s appearance. It’s why online “influencers” are so good at encouraging people to spend money on image management and status brands come out ahead when they can put a price on transitory self-esteem. New Englanders value independence, so what better way to live than to spend money that doesn’t involve checking in with any prescribed aesthetic or current trend?
Lydia Marie Child was an American abolitionist, women’s rights activist, Native American rights activist, novelist, journalist, and opponent of American expansionism. She was also a New England housewife famous for her book published in 1829, The Frugal Housewife. The introduction offers a very interesting glimpse into how much has changed in our mindset since that time:
I wasn’t planning to post anything until after the New Year but feel moved to share this. Last night Wayne and I watched the 1972 Lawrence Welk Christmas special, and we actually watch Lawrence Welk on Saturday “nights” (5:00 p.m.) when it’s on Maine PBS. I’ve had a rough week but watching this last night was so helpful in rekindling the Christmas spirit. Unapologetically*, here are the top six reasons why I think this show is balm for the soul:
Yes, it does feel strange to have Christmas without assembling and enjoying my vintage aluminum Christmas tree! We both miss it! If we had the space I’d do two trees, but that’s not an option in our cozy little 1,200 sq ft house. However we are really enjoying having a real tree this year. Good news is that in addition to supporting the local economy, our tree will not be going to the dump in January but will be brought into our woods to provide a home for wildlife and provide nutrients for the ground.
Here’s our cute tabletop tree decked out with vintage trimmings for 2019!