Mrs. Cleaver, Is That You?

Here’s a nostalgic piece of artwork with a “crafts” theme. It’s a vintage package of sewing needles – probably from the 1950’s. When I first glanced at it, I thought: “Oh, pretty! Bright and cheerful!”

sewing kit card

But as I looked closer, I began to think that this little advertising scene would probably put a lot of pressure on a busy Mom of that era. After all, the ladies shown are awfully “gussied up” for an afternoon quilting bee! Did they really have time to live such a carefree existence? They had bigger families, much less convenience food, and no permanent press!

I decided to google “life for women in the 1950’s” and came up with the following excerpt from a 1950 Home Economics textbook – no less!

Whew! Talk about pressure . . .

Have dinner ready: Plan ahead even the night before to have a delicious meal on time. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospects of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed.

Prepare yourself: Take 15 minutes to rest so you will be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work-wary people. Be a little gay and a little more interesting. His boring day may need a lift.

Clear away the clutter: Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives, gathering up school books, toys, paper, etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift, too.

Prepare the children: Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair, and if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.
Minimize all noise: At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of washer, dryer, dishwasher, or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. Greet him with a warm smile and be glad to see him. Some don’ts: Don’t greet him with problems or complaints. Don’t complain if he’s late for dinner. Count this as minor compared with what he might have gone through that day.

Make him comfortable: Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest he lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft soothing and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax-unwind.

Listen to him: You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first.

Make the evening his: Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or to other places of entertainment. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure, his need to be home and relax.

The goal: Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.

When I finished this post, I asked Sir Beads to read it. Afterwards, he said with a wink: “Hmm, you know… there are a lot of good points there!” 😉

What do you think?


Apple Season Recipe

Don’t you just love the fragrance of a crisp fall day? Autumn has always been my favorite season. Growing up in New England, I’ve had a front row seat for nature’s annual magic show of brightly colored foliage in a rainbow of rich hues. But besides the fresh air, the bright sunny days, and the glorious shades of the falling leaves . . . there are the apples! Perhaps you enjoy visiting an orchard at this time of year to hand-select your own fall apples, or maybe you enjoy watching the operation as cider is pressed.

But, even if you buy your apples already bagged at your local grocery, one thing is sure; the cooler autumn temperatures make this the ideal time to return to your kitchen and do some serious baking. No need to worry about heating up the house too much – those muggy summer days are behind us now! Something baking in the oven will do a nice job of taking the chill off a fall afternoon, not to mention offer an additional benefit – aroma therapy! Is there anything more wonderful than the smell of warm cinnamon and apples?!? It can cheer even the most curmudgeonly of roomies!

So, in honor of “Apple Season, 2008”, I’d like to share a recipe that was my grandmother’s. She’s gone now, but I carry many memories of her in my heart. She was delightfully funny . . . witty, actually!  She was the original organized homemaker, but then that’s really all that girls of her generation had to strive for. She was rather shy (but a great story-teller), very generous, and had a way of letting you know she loved you . . . without a lot of words.

I still miss her, but I know she’d be tickled that I’m sharing this recipe with you. It’s delicious and easy to make!

 Helen’s Apple Squares


1 cup flour

2 tbs baking powder

1 cup sugar

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 eggs

3/4c chopped walnuts

3 large apples (diced)

brown sugar to sprinkle on top


Mix together first 8 ingredients and

 Pour into a greased 9″x13″ pan.

Sprinkle with brown sugar.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Cool and cut into squares.


Yum!!!   🙂

We can call it “comfort food”, but I’m thinking that the true comfort comes from realizing that we are part of a nurturing continuum.

As we pass on recipes, ideas, knowledge, stories and love to our families and their families, and to our friends and their friends, it suddenly hits us:

Sharing with future generations is (as they say in the commercial) – PRICELESS!