Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Life of a Housewife

My husband got a call last night from a friend of ours who owns a craft brewery nearby. He's sick and was suppose to attend a beer festival today so he asked my husband to fill in for him. Free beer + a chance to help out a friend = a very happy husband. So, while my husband is enjoying the beautiful weather today and getting his fill of hops I am slaving away on my annual cleaning and reorganization of the basement. Sigh... the life of a housewife.

I'm just a teensy-weensy bit jealous, bitter and exhausted, but I am proud of my husband for being a good friend. Not that this is news to me, he's the very best friend I have ever had but this should give me some good commentary when it comes time to dissect The Good Wife Rules #4 & 5.

Check back for before & after photos of the basement reveal!

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Housewife Wedding vs. The Royal Wedding

No, no... I don't mean in a showdown. That would be mean and pointless... because of course my wedding would win. (wink, wink)

Here is what I think my wedding had in common with the Royal Wedding:

Kate and I both wore wedding dresses.
Image Courtesy

That's about it! I kid... but not really. We did both have handsome men in uniform in our weddings.

Image Courtesy Cardens Photography

Image Courtesy Star 100.7 Pittsburgh

And here are the ways in which our two weddings differed:

The big secret is out... my uncle is not an ordained minister. Shock! Don't worry- we are legally married. The Hubs and I had a private ceremony at the courthouse a few weeks before the big to-do. It was important to us to have someone special in our lives perform our wedding ceremony and since the State of PA doesn't recognize online ordainment we opted to get the piece of paper first and make the emotional commitment in front of all our friends and family later. I would strongly recommend this route to anyone- it took such pressure off me the day of because no matter what happened I knew we were already married. I'm pretty sure Will and Kate didn't have a courtroom ceremony.... complete with a Federal Penitentiary prisoner as witness. (True story!)

I don't think the Royal Family will be participating in a Photo Booth, even though I think they totally should!

Image Courtesy Cardens Photography 

I could be partial, but Prince William's grooms cake was nowhere near as awesome as the Flying Lizard car cake I surprised my husband with!

Image Courtesy Cardens Photography

Okay kids, this was fun but I'm having a heck of a time making all these photos line up and it's wearing me out. So, there you go. I hope that Will and Kate are as happy as my husband and I are!

A Royal Purple Bridal Shower

A couple months ago I planned a pretty purple bridal shower for a friend of mine who is getting married in June, along with the help of two awesome fellow bridesmaids who I became friends with through the planning of the shower & bachelorette party. The shower was beautiful and was flawlessly executed, just like Will and Kate's wedding this morning (with the except of me splitting my new pants in the first 5 minutes of set-up. Yep... I did that). So, the colors were more like lilac & lavender than royal purple but I like to think the shower was fit for a princess!

We worked very closely with the bride to put together inspiration photos for the shower. She, like me, is very hands on and I was happy to work with all her ideas and requests so we were certain she would be in love with the shower. Here is the inspiration board we came up with, as well as photos from the shower. Do you think we successfully pulled off the look we were going for?

Inspiration Board

Shower Photos

Paper Lanterns: We purchased the paper lanterns from, which offered the best price given the quantity we wanted ($1.10 per lantern). The pom-poms in the Inspiration Board are from Martha Stewart's line and pretty darn cute if you ask me. You can purchase those here:  Martha Stewart Pom Poms, Purple, 2 Sizes

Bud Vases: I collected bud vases that I had leftover from my own wedding adventures and bought a few more from antique stores in the area. Target always has a selection of small glass vases and here is an option on Amazon: Two's Company Asian Array Bud Vases in Gift Box, Includes Assorted 5 Shapes, Hand Blown Glass, Set of 5. I love that they are all different shapes/sizes- Adorable!

Lavender Sachet Favors: We purchased the embroidered lavender sachets from for just $.95 per sachet and filled them with lavender seeds ourselves. It was considerable cheaper that way and only took about half an hour to fill and tie them all up. I made the favor tags with my handy-dandy Cricut (which deserves it's own post). I would strongly suggest getting a Cricut if you have any interest in party planning or crafting! It will save you so much time & money and help you make more polished, professional looking projects! I only have the small Personal Cricut Machine but it's served me well on the projects I've attempted thus far: Cricut 29-0001 Personal Electronic Cutting Machine

Photo Board & Banner: I also used the Cricut to make the banner above the photo board, which, by the way, was the simplest project but, in my opinion, made the decor. To make the banner all I did was cut out the individual letters w/ the Cricut & run some ribbon through the pre-cut slots at the top of the ovals. Then I taped lengths of ribbon to the wall coming down from the banner and taped photographs to the ribbon. That's it! Some paper, ribbon and a couple bucks for photo prints.

Tissue Paper Pom-Pom Napkin Rings: offers a great tutorial on how to make the tissue paper flower napkin rings. This was quite time consuming, but I loved how they turned out. I worked on the flowers pretty much every night for about 2 weeks, but just an hour here and there while watching TV. Definitely use floral wire stems to tie the napkins together. Ribbon might be too difficult to work with and the wire was easy to wrap around and twist into place. I purchased them in packs at Walmart for a couple bucks. I made almost twice as many as we needed for the cutlery rolls but then we were able to scatter them around for extra decorations. I would suggest pre-rolling plastic ware in napkins for pretty much any party- such a time saver and with even just a cute ribbon tying them together they will add some color and decoration to your tabletop. You can get tissue paper anywhere but if you don't need a specific color this is a great deal: The Gift Wrap Company Multi-Color Gift Tissue Paper, 20 Sheets per Package, 20-Inches x 26-Inches (Pack of 6)

Lavender Rice Hot/Cold Eye Pillows: I got a sewing machine for Christmas last year and the very first project I attempted was a rice eye pillow. I've made a few since then and seem to have it down now so I sewed a few to give out as prizes for the games we played. I made the tags on them with my Cricut and attached them with purple ribbon. The tutorial I used to sew the eye pillow came from the wonderful Amy Butler and is available for free download here.

Cupcake Stands: I baked 96 cupcakes for the shower. Yes, I am well aware I'm crazy... especially since I had never decorated a cupcake before that day. I was under the impression that my mom knew how to decorate cakes/cupcakes but as it turned out she didn't. So, we learned pretty quickly. My favorite resource for baking is My mass production baking secret is to always start with a boxed mix and then add something extra to make it special. Betty Crocker has a ton of recipes for cakes, cupcakes and cookies that all start with a box and require just an extra ingredient or two and a little bit more time to make something a lot more impressive.

I also handmade all the cupcake stands. And by handmade I mean I glued a plate to a candlestick holder. Yep, it was that simple. There is an endless supply of antique stores (and junk stores) in Central PA so I was able to purchase all the items to make these for just $1-$3 per stand. That is a significant savings over $20-$40 per cake stand at retail stores. I just picked a plate and then found something that looked like a good base for it, usually a candlestick holder, wine glass or glass dish. A few of them were made of milk glass pieces. For a great tutorial, check out MyUglyKitty at Weddings & Cookies. If you aren't feeling adventurous enough yet to DIY your own here are a few of my favorites on Amazon:

That pretty much sums up my projects for the Pretty Purple Bridal Shower. Hope you enjoyed the purple eye candy!

Here are links to some of the materials/projects mentioned above:

Showin' Some Love! Royal Edition

Showin' Some Love! Royal Edition!

I did not wake up at 5am to watch the Royal Wedding, but since Good Morning America is part of my morning routine I did get to catch a bit of it. I will be happy to have our regular news back soon but I love a good wedding and it makes me happy to see couples in love. So, today I am going to post a few Royal Wedding Related posts!

To jump start the day I am going to Show Some Love for another of my favorite Bloggers, her Royal Highness Herself, The Yard Sale Queen!

The Yard Sale Queen

I found the Yard Sale Queen a couple years ago when googling tips for having a successful yard sale. Years later, and even when I'm not planning a yard sale, I still read her blog. She has a great sense of humor (sort of dry, like mine, and very sarcastic) and finds awesome deals. She keeps me motivated to keep digging for treasures!

Her website has a lot of great tips on how to yard sail and sell and her blog is where she posts all the fabulous items she finds yard sailing as well as general tips on spending less and saving more. So be sure to check Her Royal Highness out soon! 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

My name is Tracy, but you can call me Martha: BB&B Collage Frame

Crafty Post! While my husband and I were creating our wedding registries I fell in love with a collage frame at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Distressed Wood Photo Collage

I absolutely love it but $139.99?!?! Yea, I don't see myself spending that on a picture frame (even if it is 7 frames in one- that's $20 per frame!). Flash forward a couple months and it is after our wedding and we are trying to figure out what to do with all the wedding paraphernalia strung about our home. The big head scratcher was what to do with the 12 custom size photo moulding centerpieces my dad made for us:

Image Courtesy the Best Wedding Photographers in the World, Carden's Photography

(In case you can't tell from the photo, we placed square picture frames over a round floral tray and filled the inside of the frames with flowers and candles.)

Once again, genius struck (that keeps happening these days!) and I remembered the BB&B collage frame. So, here is what I did. I picked a few of the larger centerpiece frames that were my favorites, as well as few of the smaller frames we used around the wedding (guest book instructions, favor sign, etc). I played around with the composition for awhile on the ping-pong table in the basement and then- very important!- I drew a diagram of the final layout. (The first time I got the layout just right I attempted to move them and got all sorts of confused. I had to redo the final layout and I'm pretty sure I preferred my first attempt better- not that we'll ever know now!)

You can pick up an inexpensive frame hanging kit from just about anywhere. I think I bought mine at Target for around $5, but here is an option I found on

I prefer the D-rings (brass hanging brackets with the loops shaped like Ds at the top). Attach two of those to the back at opposite sides and hang. I wish I could offer a tutorial on how to hang the collage, but since every one's collage will be different I'm not sure I could effectively write instructions.

If you do not have glass for the frames you are using Michaels Craft Stores sells standard size picture glass (5x7, 8x10, etc).

Here is how my final collage frame turned out (I left the 40-something inch TV screen in to show scale):

I still prefer the BB&B Collage Frame but all this project cost me was a couple bucks for the photo prints and $5 for the hanging kit. What do you think? How did I do??

Featured on: 


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wife Points Wednesday: Baked Beans

Wife Points Wednesday will contain tips for little things you can do to earn wife points. We can all use extra points some days!

It’s Wife Points Wednesday and today I am trying to earn points with the Hub by speaking his language: Food. What does my husband love almost as much as me? Anything that contains bacon. So, this morning I looked up a slow cooker baked beans recipe before work and hopefully I’ll be able to report that they were awesome and my husband now thinks I’m the most wonderful chef in all the lands.

The recipe I used (loosely) is from

This is my kind of cooking!

Step #1 Dump ingredients in pot
Step #2 Stir
Step #3 Eat


  • 3 cups of dried white navy beans, soaked and simmered until tender, following package directions
  • 1 1/2 c ketchup
  • 1 1/2 c water
  • 1/4 c molasses
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 6 slices of uncooked salt pork or bacon, diced
  • 1 c brown sugar

Place all ingredients in slow cooker; cover and cook for 8 to 10 hours on low. Stir a few times.


Update: The beans were good. My husband liked them. I wish I had chopped the onions & bacon up into smaller bits but I did throw everything together in time I didn’t really have before work. I learned an important lesson though: After dinner I went into the kitchen to refill my water glass and asked the Hubs if he needed a beer. As I handed it to him he said “Point.” (I explained the “Wife Point Wednesday” concept to him today.) So, you use your precious time whipping up a special dish for your husband... or give him a beer.

Free 4 Me

I did a little shopping with my mom last night and saved over $70- woooo! I received a $10 off a $10 purchase coupon for JC Penney in the mail last week and wanted to use that up. I also had $10 Kohls Cash burning a hole in my pocket. I just happened to check my email one last time before running out the door and it's a good thing I did because I had a $10 off any purchase coupon waiting for me from Kohls. (I received that coupon for signing up to receive Kohls emails. For some reason I stopped getting all the Kohls sales emails so I signed back up so I wouldn't miss any deals.)

Here is what I got:

My JCP is a very... very small store. There was little to pick from so I ended up just grabbing a pair of $22 cloth bermuda shorts marked down to $10.99. I paid $1 out of pocket- The cashier asked me if I'd like to donate the remaining penny to an afternoon program for the local YMCA. Double bonus: opportunity to save and help someone in need. Every penny counts! (I may or may not have tried the shorts on over my jeans in the middle of the store.)

My intention at Kohls was to find something I wanted for $20 and pay nothing out of pocket. I am trying to not buy clothing at the moment (at least until I manage to kick the 5 pounds I gained recently over my friend's bachelorette weekend) but I didn't find the household items I was looking for and saw a pair of jean capris I wanted to try on. Then I saw a pretty new color in a t-shirt style that I already own and love and figured I would try them on together. Just my luck, the outfit was totally cute together so I ended up busting out a 15% coupon and buying both. I'm still happy with the savings breakdown and I did very well on my Spending Diet last week so it was a $20 gift to myself. Plus, I didn't own any jean capris and it's starting to get hot here!

The jean capris were originally marked $44, on sale for $27.99 - 15% = $23.79 - $10 coupon = $13.79

The top was originally marked $26 (for a t-shirt???), on sale for $18.99 (for a t-shirt???) - 15% = $16.14 -$10 coupon = $6.14 (that's more like it!)

Did you get anything free this week?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sample Showcase

I just found this website the other night, thanks to

Sample Showcase is apparently a great way to sign up for a number of free product samples- all  conveniently packed into a box, courtesy of a program by the USPS called StartSampling. I have not received one of these boxes yet and "do not qualify" for the current box offering but I was able to sign up for a number of great product samples online. Just sign up for an account and click on the Samples link at the top of the page. You can then search through the samples available and individually sign up for any & all products you are interested in. Fingers crossed that we'll all qualify for the next Sample Showcase box!

I'll let you know if/when I receive my samples. Good luck & I hope you get to try out some awesome new products soon!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Showin' Some Love!

Since the '50s housewives shared recipes, household tips and cups of sugar I think it's only fair that I share with you my absolute favorite blog in the whole, wide world:
Hip 2 Save
I think Mrs. 1950sHousewife would have loved Collin and her family of bargain bloggers! Hip2Save: Not Your Grandma's Coupon Site is (in my opinion) the best couponing blog online today. Collin regularly posts all the best shopping deals online and in a variety of stores everyday and does so with the best sense of humor. Seriously- just watch one of her videos! 

Hip2Save is a great site for newbie coupon shoppers. The new show Extreme Couponing may scare you but I promise you will not be scared away by Collin. She will teach you all you need to know to save your family money without requiring a second garage for your toothpaste stockpile. Hip2Save is the site that really got me into coupon shopping and I still read their posts everyday on my Google Reader. So check it out and be certain to watch Hip's Video Series.

Good Deed Day- Wedding Towel Cake

Making little good deeds go a long way- A simple shower gift

Doing things that make other people happy is directly related to my own happiness. I cannot stop. The only thing that makes me happier than hearing my husband laugh is being responsible for making someone’s day brighter. I’ve been told I often do too much for other people, or go above and beyond for someone else that may or may not deserve it. Here is my selfish little secret- I’m actually doing it all for myself! I don’t get bitter, or at least try not to, when someone doesn’t appreciate a kind gesture or significant gift because in the end I still feel happy for having done it. Besides, about 90% of the gestures I do provide a creative outlet for me that I just do not get anywhere else. But alas, this post is not about appreciation for I know the good deed I am writing about today did not go unappreciated.

I don’t know how other peoples' minds work but I imagine that many people feel at times that they would like to do something nice for another person, but just don’t know what or how to make it happen. Maybe some people never even think about doing something for another person. I couldn’t tell you, I don’t know any of those people. I think of opportunities to do good deeds all the time, but I don’t always have the great idea to follow it up or the time or resources to make it happen.

One personal goal I would like to work on is finding ways to satisfy as many opportunities to make people smile as I can- regardless of resources. Mainly because I just cannot see how it would be possible to be a good housewife without first being a good person. Do not fret if you don’t feel that your mind works this way. I believe this is something we can train our brain to do automatically. Flex your good deed muscle and eventually it will start flexing itself!

My problem is when I identify an opportunity and develop a great idea I am reluctant to scale back if I do not have the time, money or materials to make it happen. I am relatively good about sticking to budgets when it is something I need/want, but when it comes to a gift for another person- forget about it! I almost always blow the budget on gifts. (Don’t even ask to see the budget breakdown on my husband’s surprise 30th birthday party!) But times, they are a changin’ and I’ll never reach my goal of stay-at-home-momdom if I don’t learn to approach this problem more creatively.

Creative Gift-Giving Problem-Solving #1: A bridal shower gift

Someone that I work with and see every day is getting married this summer. I am not friends with this person and not exactly coworkers, but she takes such good care of my coworkers and I in the dining hall we eat in everyday. She is young & in love and her and her fiancé make the most adorable googly-eyes at one another when he stops by to visit her. I can’t help but be reminded of how much I love my husband when I see them together which is an awesome distraction to the work day. Our engagements overlapped some so I feel a special bond with her over the few times we’ve chatted about our weddings. Plus, she’s a good person who I feel deserves to be treated.

So, I decided to do something special for her before their wedding.

Idea #1: Convert the entire staff dining hall into a bridal shower! Yes! I could come in early and decorate the room, take up a collection from everyone who eats there and shower her with gifts, and get the old retired men who for reasons unbeknownst to me still eat there every day to play shower games with us! (I won’t bother listing the various reasons why this plan got the axe.)

Idea #2: There are six women who eat at our lunch table almost every day and who think as fondly of this person as I do. I did some sleuthing and discovered where she was registered. If everyone at our table contributed $30 we could buy her all of the dishes she registered for. So, I sent out an email to everyone asking at what price point they wanted to contribute and turns out I was waaaay off. The general consensus was that everyone was more comfortable pitching in $10 towards the gift. As it turns out, that was a more realistic contribution for me as well and I’m glad the others spoke up and did not overextend themselves. Lesson learned: It’s okay to set limits and stick to them: a frugal sweet gesture is still a sweet gesture!

Idea #3: This is where I chose to see my half-off happy hour glass as half full and identify this new budget restriction as an opportunity to get creative. Now I was faced with how to use this budget to present a gift that was a little more special than “Here is a toaster.” Looking at her registry I needed to decide between one medium-sized gift or a bunch of lower-priced items. That’s when genius struck: Towel Wedding Cake!

I knew that this girl was moving out of her parents’ home soon and saw that no one had bought her any of the towels off her registry. For the $60 budget I could buy at least ¾ of the towels she requested. (Side bar: I refused to buy the $15 bath sheets she wanted. This girl weighs a good 100 pounds soaking wet. A standard size towel would wrap around her at least thrice and that would be sufficient, I decided.) I saw a Towel Wedding Cake on (Towel Cake Tutorial) awhile ago and attempted to make one for my cousin about a year ago. It didn’t work out so well because I waited until last minute and didn’t really follow directions. But I thought this project would be perfect for this gift because it was easy, didn’t require many additional supplies beside the towels (budget bonus!) and would look like something more special than a gift bag of towels (Wow factor!).

My Wedding Towel Cake

What do you think?? How did I do?

I did a little extra decorating with a $2 bunch of fake flowers from Michael's and some ribbon I had leftover from my own wedding projects, but it truly did not require much effort. I won’t walk you through step by step because a) I forgot to take photos along the way and b) does a great job at that already. I will give you a few tips though. Use large safety pins: the towel fabric is thick when rolled up and you’ll poke yourself many times if the safety pins are too small. (I speak from personal experience). I also poked a few wooden BBQ skewers through the center of the towels to hold the three layers together. This just made it easier to transport.

I hope I gave you something to think about or inspired you to do a good deed for someone soon. I’ll write more ideas of little (and big) ways to frugally make people smile as I think of them!

Here are links to the products you'd need to create a Wedding Towel Cake of your own:

This towel set has 2 bath towels, 2 hand towels and 2 washcloths- enough to make a small wedding towel cake. I used 4 bath towels, 4 handtowels and 6 washclothes on the one pictured above. I also used the towels colors the bride registered for but I've seen people make them in all white, to look more like a wedding cake. (This towel set is offered in colors other than blue, including white.) If doing that I would decorate the towels with flowers in the bride's wedding colors for a personalized touch.

I am loving this deal at 58% off people! 100% Egyptian Cotton! Free Super Saver Shipping! All for $4 a towel- can't beat that! (Prices listed as of posting)

Safety Pins, nothing too exciting here. But once again, Free Super Saver Shipping!

You can decorate the cake with whatever you'd like. I chose to just use small silk flower stems, but I've also seen towel cakes with kitchen utensils stick down into the folds of the towel layers. Take a look at the bride's registry & get creative.

How cute would this ribbon be for a bridal shower gift?? Love Martha's craft supplies! Once again... Free Super Saver Shipping!

Total cost of towel cake with these supplies: $36.50!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Modern Translation: The Awesome wife’s guide (Rule #1)

(This is the 2nd post of this series. To read the entire series, click on the label to the left that reads "Modern Translation Series.")  

Let’s break down these good housewife tips, shall we?

* Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. 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 prospect of a good meal (especially his favourite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.

This one is complicated for me. I like to cook and I am especially proud when I cook a meal that my husband loves. The problem is that doesn’t happen very often. Don’t get me wrong, the hub will eat anything I cook. He’s like a garbage disposal (which is great, because we don’t actually have a real garbage disposal). I’ve yet to make a meal that wasn’t edible. That’s a lie- I’ve yet to make a meal that I thought would be edible but we discovered upon bite one that it wasn’t. I have made a meal that went straight to the trash can... or two. But I don’t think three.

My husband is the chef of the house. He CAN cook. (My advice to the single ladies- marry a man who can cook!) When he starts feeling creative he goes in the kitchen and takes it out on a pork loin & let me tell you he works wonders- especially on the cheapest meats, which makes my frugal grocery budget very happy! I love these nights but they only happen when we’ve got a good 60-90 minutes to wait on dinner. When we need dinner in 20 minutes, I’m your girl! I’m a whipper-upper and I can whip-up a well balanced meal no less. I have it down to a science:

Step 1: Put some frozen pre-seasoned fish fillets on a baking sheet.
Step 2: Grab a box of frozen veggies from the freezer and toss those in the microwave.
Step 3: Is there a bag of frozen Pillsbury Grands biscuits in the freezer? SCORE! Toss a few of those in the oven w/ the fish.
Step 4: Wait 20 minutes.
Step 5: Serve on real plates and throw away evidence of freezer packaging.

This works for us. This is just one example of how well my husband and I complement each other. I guess you could call this the “modern” take on Rule #1. But, what can I learn from 1950 Rule #1? Planning ahead is essential- even when “whipping up” a meal. One thinks “to whip” is to do something quickly and yes, I do cook the meal quickly but I’ve usually planned out which quick meal I am going to whip up in advance.
One thing I think my household needs to improve on is decreased food waste. I’ve noticed that we waste more food when I don’t take the time to pre-plan. For example, when I buy fresh bagels only to get home and discover we have 5 bagels at home already and there is no way we can eat 11 bagels before they go bad. Or, when I pull more meat out of the freezer than we can eat in a week’s time and I’m scrambling to cook two meals in one night before everything goes bad, then we end up with too many leftovers and I’m stuck eating the same thing for lunch all week which I get sick of and start spending money on food at work that I probably shouldn’t be spending only to have to throw half of it out in the end anyway. <deep breath>

So, I think the 1950s housewife planned ahead not only to make her husband happy but to be smart. She planned her weekly meals around what she already had at home (something I need to work on) and planned her weekly shopping trip to supplement the meal plan. I plan meals ahead for my husband because it saves me money and cuts down on food waste. I plan ahead for his Top Chef moments by pulling meat that needs eaten out of the freezer when I know we’ll be home for a weekend dinner because I get to eat the fruits of his labor. I cater to his cooking whims because, well, it’s worth it!

I don’t mind being the one responsible for weeknight meals for a number of reasons:

1) I need to eat. The hub is more like a camel- he can take or leave a meal. If he doesn’t eat tonight, he’ll just eat double tomorrow and somehow it all balances out for him. I, on the other hand, am hypoglycemic (low-blood sugar) and I don’t always have time to wait for him to cook.

2) I do all the shopping therefore I know what we have. My husband suffers from the disease which causes a man to start asking where something is in the refrigerator while in the process of opening the refrigerator. I can cite him for not really trying to find the ketchup sitting on the shelf in front of his face, but I cannot exactly blame him for not knowing that there was an awesome deal on ketchup at Target last week and therefore we know have a stockpile in the basement for when said ketchup bottle runs out. So, for the sake of our pocketbook and the garbage man I think I’ll continue cooking the majority of our meals.   

3) I like a clean kitchen which a cooking husband doth not make.

In summary,

Dear 1950’s Housewife,

I generally like Rule #1 and I believe you are onto something with this planning ahead idea. I do, however disagree with you in regards to the dinner-on-the-table-when-he-walks-through-the-door ideal. I am happy to cook my husband dinner, but I see no need in wasting food if he arrives home not hungry or only to tell me he is going out to eat that evening. (On those nights I am perfectly content with a bag of popcorn, a handful of M&Ms and a sink empty of dirty dishes.) Additionally, while I agree with you that nothing says “I’ve been thinking about you” more than Hamburger Helper Beef Stroganoff, I don’t think my husband’s cholesterol would appreciate his favorite meal too frequently.

Have a pleasant day,
The 2010s Housewife

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Modern Translation: The Awesome Wife’s Guide


In the May 13th, 1955 issue of Housekeeping Monthly, an article was (allegedly) printed that outlined how to be a good wife- aptly named The Good Wife’s Guide. If you’ve ever thrown a bridal shower, had a bridal shower thrown for you or attended a bridal shower, chances are you’ve heard these infamous pearls of wisdom read aloud, accompanied by the sounds of eyes rolling (yes, rolling eyes can be heard many feet away), chuckles, “oh, hell no!”s and a few “in his dreams.”

I remember the first time I read this article; I had it enlarged into poster-size to display as a joke at my best friend Nikki’s bridal shower. As I recited the guide to her slightly inebriated guests (it was a margarita-themed shower)  I remember thinking “I don’t understand what’s wrong with this.” Clearly, from everyone’s reaction, there was something definitely wrong with this way of thinking. But who was I to know better, I was a 22-year-old college student living in my parents home with an immature boyfriend who lived in my parents basement.

Fast forward five years later; I’m living in Pennsylvania, engaged, living the “career dream” in my ideal job, and visiting home (Ohio) for a “1950’s Housewife”-themed bridal shower of my very own. We didn’t read or display the Housekeeping Monthly article at my shower, though we did wear pearls & aprons, carried hankies, and my mother and her long-standing group of girlfriends sang “Stand By Your Man” to me in a very ceremonial passing-of-the-torch. To my mother and bridal party this theme seemed perfect for me- I liked to bake and entertain and I owned a pair of pearl earrings. To me, this shower theme was perfect for me, but for reasons much deeper. I believe that I can evaluate my quality as a housewife based on the 1950's standard set in The Good Wife’s Guide (well, maybe a modern translation of the basic principals) AND (here’s the clincher) I believe doing so will make me happy!  

<Dramatic pause so that the 50% of readers who now hate me can spout some intended-to-be-feminist remarks and slam down their laptop lids>

Those of you still reading, allow me to be clear- the home is not my place, it’s where I prefer to be. I have many friends who are Feminists. I’d like to, however, avoid a discussion on Feminism mainly because (as about to be displayed by my quoting of Wikipedia) I do not know enough about it to have an intelligent conversation around the topic. My friend Wikipedia says “Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women.” Yay- I’m all for that. Thank you to all the women who fought for my opportunity to chose to be a housewife!

Everything I will discuss on this blog is what works for me. I am going to explore topics that make me happy. I hope that some (if not all) of what I talk about makes you happy too. I never intend to infer that the lifestyle choices I and my family make are “ideal”, “right”, or what you should seek to do. I am simply trying to find the life that what works for me/us.  

I attended college. I even have a Master’s degree. A few short weeks after graduation I landed the job I wanted. I am still (currently) working at that job. I have no career aspirations above what I am doing now. If I have to work, I want to be doing this job. However, once I started working I had a huge realization- this does not fulfill me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe I picked the wrong career path. I believe in what I do and I enjoy it, but I enjoy being a housewife more. I have a nagging feeling I will enjoy being a mother more.

So, what is this blog about? (I better get to the point since it’s already long enough.) I love being a wife. I want to be the best wife I can be. I believe there is much I can learn about myself from the 1950's housewife- good or bad. I would love to quit my job, push out a few babies and be a stay-at-home mom, but there are challenges facing me- and, as far as I know, the rest of America. So, this blog is the story of my self-improvement adventure as I work towards the goal of being a happy, healthy housewife (and hopefully soon house-mom).

Some people think I’m already an awesome wife. (Horn tooting not intended.) I’ve been told I’m a good host, party planner and gift giver. In the past, I’ve fulfilled all these rolls frugally, but, if I’m ever going to reach my above stated goal (of being a full-time housewife/mom) I’m going to have to take frugal to a whole new level! This is my adventure of trying to learn how to keep my current standard of lifestyle, as someone who can celebrate & spoil their loved ones, balance it all and coupon with the best of them, on even less resources than before and while becoming the best person/wife/friend/daughter/sister/cousin/niece I can be. In addition to thoughts on being a housewife, this blog will contain couponing tips, inexpensive gift & party planning ideas, as well as any good advice I stumbling across along the path to frugal living.

I am a new blogger so bear with me! I am probably about to commit a rookie Blogging 101 mistake, but I am going to start my blog with a series: Modern Translation: The Awesome Wife’s Guide. If I think there is much I can learn from the ideals of the 1950s housewife, then I should probably a) read them,  b) think about them and then c) translate them for my life. Today is not 1950 (indicated by the fact that you are reading a blog) so I need to figure out how this guide can apply today- if it even can!

Stay Tuned!