Saturday, September 24, 2011

Baby Steps

Sorry I haven't been updating daily, but it is hard to find time to blog when you are a 50's housewife! The last few days have varied. Day 4 I felt a lot better as I didn't put as much pressure on myself and tried the best I could. My nonstop work eventually rubbed off on my husband and he started cleaning our packed full garage (yay!) I had to market (shop) that day but was waiting for my husband to finish in the garage. Anticipating a late trip I had made dessert ahead of time and went with the good old stand by of spaghetti and salad for dinner so we wouldn't be eating too late. Dessert was the peanut bar thing that was good, but don't know if I would make it again.
Day 5 was the second day my husband had to work since this started which somehow made me think it would be easier. I tried getting up at 6 to see if that would be early enough and it seemed good. I fed the dogs and took them for a walk, freshly pressed clothes for my husband to wear for work and made a yummy almond braid thing for breakfast. He didn't sit and eat it though just took it with him to work. : (
  Almond braid

At least the kids enjoyed it.  Next I got my daughter ready and off to school. By this day I was starting to feel slightly less tired and much happier. For my deep clean project I had to cheat and use it as time to work, but I still managed to do a couple loads of laundry, bake two more loaves of bread and do plenty of cleaning. I also made homemade pizza for dinner.

Not sure if they did that in the 50's but it was delicious! An exciting development happened in our household on Thursday as well - the little man took his first step! He stood without holding anything in the middle of his playpen, he then took a step to get to the railing. He was so proud of himself he immediately sat down and started clapping!

Day 6 (Friday) saw continued progress. It is getting easier to wake up and get going and it is exciting to see how well I will do, how much I will accomplish. My husband however has been dampening my mood a bit by being a major flat liner lately. He has been going through some stuff with work and it has been making him NO FUN. I got up at 6 again thinking it would be earlier enough. My husband got up earlier than usual, put on the pants I had ironed and layed out and put on a different shirt while I was ironing one! I wasn't happy. Then just as I was about to make his breakfast he said he had to leave for work (about 40 min. earlier than usual) and left. I guess he isn't too impressed with the 50's housewife. I was really clicking through the steps on Friday however and feeling pretty good about it. For my deep clean I concentrated on the girls room. I washed all my older daughter's bedding and for my younger daughter I started packing away all her more summery clothes and putting away some fall winter ones. For dinner I figured we would have fish and made something similar to earlier in the week.

 I served it with a fresh salad and used up a box of rice we had.  For dessert we had a delicious apple crisp that I made from scratch topped with homemade whipped cream. Delightful. Afterwards my little three year old helped me pick up the toys and books in her room that had come out since I cleaned. Before bed her and I watched an episode of Dennis the Menace that I found on Netflix (I know very un-50s-ish but it is a 50's show and it isn't on regular tv.) I remember watching that show when I was little - 'Oh, Mr. Wil-son!' Classic! Well, Saturday is day 7, wish me luck! Also if anyone has any questions about anything put them in the comments or email to dreamingupdesigns AT yahoo DOT com. I will answer in a future post. Bye!

Dennis the Menace

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Day 3: No June Cleaver

Day 3 I was awake at 7 and although tired things did go pretty smoothly. There was plenty of breakfast left over from the day before so all I had to do was reheat it in the oven. As things went well I also decided to catch up on my beauty routine, something I had not gotten to the day before. Monday was supposed to be a facial and Tuesday a pedicure. I must admit I had not had either in ages. At first I felt a little guilty making myself pretty when I could be cleaning (or doing dishes!) but in the end I rather enjoyed it. After the morning activities the afternoon unfortunately was a wash. My husband tried to be helpful and made the bed when he got up, but we needed a couple things and he wanted me to go along. We did not get home until almost 4 which of course totally threw off my day. Everyone was still hungry so I made tuna salad sandwiches and served some leftover pie. On the plus side I did get a few 50's cookbooks while we were out. Then I helped my oldest with her homework and had to make dinner. We had pork topped with a mix of apple pie filling and crushed ginger snaps, leftover carrots and some delicious sesame green beans. Since we ate the pie for lunch I needed a new dessert and I found a boxed brownie mix which I made. I was so tired that my husband told me to go lie down around 9:30.
My fatigue brings me to an observation. I have been so fatigued I have been having a hard time getting in the 50's groove and being really hard on myself for it. As I mentioned before, I had decided I could use products in my home until they were used up (it wouldn't be in the 50's spirit to waste things) but then when they ran out they had to be replaced with a time appropriate item. A couple of days before the project started I ran out of diet mountain dew. In average I had been drinking approximately 3 cans per day. Diet Mountain Dew came out in late 80's. Regular Mountain Dew was around in the 50's, but wasn't widely available until it was purchased by Pepsi in 1964. That all aside soda was not for all the time like today. It was a special treat and wasn't sold in big buckets like it is today. So I stopped drinking it. The first few days I noticed I had headaches and major fatigue. After the headaches were gone I thought I was over it. I thought I was tired because I was a failure at the 50's. However, I have now read that when you stop using/drinking artificial sweeteners (ex. diet dew) it can take as long as two weeks for your body to stop having withdrawal symptoms. After that the roller coaster still isn't over. You could still have a couple weeks of habitual cravings. For example, artificial sweeteners are supposed to make you actually crave more sweets in general so some of those cravings may still be there.
Here a decision had to be made, should I go on with the project or wait the two weeks for recovery? I already started and I want to continue. We will just have to keep in mind these first couple weeks that I will be extra frustrated and tired and hopefully after that things will improve. Here's to day 4!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Day 2: My Own Kind of Hell

Good morning, everyone! Today I will be a little more brief as to not throw off my schedule. Day 1 found me up at 6:30 and in bed well after midnight. Day 2 I had to be up bright and early (7 am) to see my oldest daughter off to school. Everything went okay. I made a delicious breakfast of french toast with raspberries on top.

Downside was she didn't have time to finish eating it. In my defense she is quite chatty and the bus was a little early, but still. I was so very tired I had dizzy spells all morning while I tried to keep up with my schedule. For my 'deep clean' task of the day I chose baking and laundry. I didn't really get any more laundry done than I have been, due to waiting for the machine to finish, and never got to ironing. I did bake two loaves of bread. I haven't made bread in awhile and I forgot how dang long it takes to make! It wasn't even close to being done at lunchtime and we had no other bread in the house. I had to scramble to get a lunch together and use the old 'use it up and replace with 50's item' crutch and make a couple boxes of Suddenly Salad.

Fresh bread!

In tune to the use it up theme I realized there were no disposable diapers in the 1950's. I decided to cheat with my 3 year old daughter and have her start wearing underwear during the day and save my last disposable diapers for night time so I wouldn't be woken up in the night because someone wet the bed, etc. I didn't think it would be a big deal. We had started potty training her quite a while back, but when our son was born she started that whole nasty regression - I want to be the baby- thing. Let's just say it involved some large puddles day 2 that I did not appreciate.
My husband tried to be helpful and take all the kids when our oldest had dance class in the evening. I am not going to lie - as soon as they were gone I had changed into some comfy p.j.'s and was watching a little Happy Days. Of course I was also folding laundry.
Then came time to get dinner ready. I was making a chicken recipe. I thought I already had a whole bunch of chicken broth so I hadn't bought any. Apparently it was beef broth. I scrambled through the cabinets hoping for some chicken bouillon - and I found it. Unfortunately it expired in 2008 so I went with the beef broth. Dinner wasn't quite ready when they got home and there was piles of folded laundry in the living room. Boy, did I feel like a loser! Everyone loved dinner however - chicken with gravy, mashed potatoes, carrots and homemade bread with a berry pie for dessert. At least I had that going for me. Then came the really bad part.
DISHES. Oh, how I hate dishes. These 50's housewives must have spent half their damn day doing dishes. Even with trying to keep up with them during the day they were everywhere. I swear they were breeding and multiplying! I remember growing up we didn't have a dishwasher until the early nineties and I really don't know how we managed. Then the bitterness came. I was up before everyone and here I was, back killing me, literally making my eyes water, washing all these dishes, while everyone else was cozy in bed. Not nice. I did almost all of the dishes, skipped making lunches, setting the table for breakfast and cocktails, and collapsed in a heap on the bed about 11:30. The end.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Day 1: Not Another Lovely Day in the Suburbs

Yesterday. was. hard. I knew it was my first day and things wouldn't go perfectly smooth, but oh my. There were lots of ways I felt a failure yesterday. I tried getting up at 6:30 hoping it would be early enough, but oh no, not even close. By the time the dogs had eaten and gone for a walk I was running low on time before my husband had to leave for work. I had planned on making some fritatta thing but had to settle for making some type of omelet with the fritatta ingredients. Not only that but with all my prepping I had not gotten a chance to iron my husband's shirt for work so he did himself. Bad housewife. It took him so long he did even have time to eat breakfast - he chugged down the orange juice and took the plate of egg with him. I already felt like a loser, but tried to press on with a positive attitude.
I had been doing a lot of 50's era reading, but also had found this hilarious blog that had a list of how they tried to be a 50's housewife. I decided to follow list, though with quite a few variations such as having three kids, two bichon frise dogs and two cats. So far I haven't found much about being a mother at home with children in the fifties. Most things talk about, 'after you have sent the children off to school...' What about the weekends? What about before they go to school? I also read a couple things about visiting the children in the nursery, so either those children had a nanny or their mother just locked them up in a room all day until dinner time. That's why the houses were so clean. Oh, wait, I also found a quote about how you should keep your children quiet and keep their faces clean because that is how God wants them to be. Thanks for laying on the guilt trip...
You can find the list I am working with here and I highly recommend you check it out...
Extremely funny blog, though I have to admit I am waiting to read most of the 50's posts after my are done so I can compare.
Most things I couldn't entirely complete and even if I did...

Here is the living room after it was cleaned;

and when I was busy in the kitchen doing dinner dishes;

"But, Mom, I was just pretending to be a fashion designer!"

By 3:00 I was so sore and worn out I didn't know how I would make it through the rest of the day. It was time for my 'deep clean' step. I fell back on my old cleaning schedule and decided I would super clean the master bedroom/upstairs area. I got all our sheets in the dresser...then layed down on the bed for half an hour exhausted and feeling sorry for myself. No deep clean. After that I had a couple cups of tea and felt slightly more refreshed. I hadn't realized the dessert I had planned was supposed to freeze for 12 hours, but I decided to give it go anyways. You have no idea the restraint it took not to dump some booze in there and make it worth my while. Dinner was a success, however. This week I am more worried about a 50's eating schedule (of not eating out at least 3 time a week) than the actual recipes, though I do plan to make some later 'for authenticity.' The recipe called for one of three different types of fish which I asked him to get, but of course he said they didn't have any of those and got Dory fish, which we have never eaten. "You know, you can eat the blue fish from Finding Nemo. Just keep swimming." Grr. He knows I hate it when people compare edible food to cute animated characters. Anyway, it was delicious.

That is the three year old's portion. The recipe called for bottled salsa on top. I wasn't sure they would have had that in the fifties, so instead I topped it with a blend of diced tomatoes, cilantro and olive oil.

Dessert was also good. It was some raspberry- lime juice slush thing topped with ginger ale. I even served it in authentic 50's era glasses.

The evening went much smoother which made it slightly more bearable. I probably would have completed evening thing if I had not had to help with homework, get kids ready for bed, etc. Even then I was pretty close. My husband didn't get home until well after 9, so he had to eat then. He was very pleased to come home to me in a dress, food ready and everything else. After he ate it was cocktail time!

Those cocktail tools and shaker we received as a gift quite some time ago (a couple years?) and this was the first time we were using them. Clearly, we needed to get with it. We were going to attempt singapore slings. The recipe I used is here.

These are served in circa 1950's Libbey hostess glasses, a gift from my mother-in-law.

The drinks looked very pretty, but those first few sips were something. I left the club soda out to mix more in, but ended up not. After the first few sips you are tipsy enough to only taste a hint of cherry as you drink it down. Here's a raised glass to hoping day two goes a bit better. Cheers!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Day 0 : Prepping for the Fab 50's

Good evening, all! I am about to collapse from exhaustion, but I had to give a little update. I refer to this as day 0 as there are things I had to do to prep for tomorrow to work ; ) I cleaned my little man's room, baked a whole lot of cookies, did laundry and dishes and got a bagged lunch ready for the husband. Fingers crossed this won't be a flop! I admit I began having my doubts around 5 pm today...

This room was cleaned spotless yesterday. And after certain little people were told they had better pick this room up...

A lovely little under-the-bed-sweeper.

I had planned to go into more details on what all I plan to do but, will have to be done throughout the week. Nighty night.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Prepping for the Fabulous Fifties

Just wanted to do a quick update! I will be starting my 50's project on Sunday. So far I have been preparing by cleaning (not 50's standards but cleaning) and doing a little shopping. I've been major cleaning so I wouldn't get burned out in the 50's, but whew, I am already burned out now. Also, been doing some reading.
Did I mention that, other than telling everyone on the Internet, I haven't actually told anyone I know? I wanted to see how long it would take for anyone to notice and how they would react. So far in the preparations, my husband has only looked at me funny a couple of times. 1. He thought it was odd I wanted to go to the bank and withdraw a bunch of cash (no credit or debit in the 50's!) to pay for gas, groceries, etc. He then assumed I was doing some type of budget thing and wasn't too worried about it.
2. He looked at me a little funny when I purchased gin and cherry brandy. I don't think I ever have purchased either of those things. I explained I had found a drink recipe I wanted to try and he was fine with it.
Another part of my project was that I decided if I had consumables (food, beauty products, etc) I would use up what was left, but when it was gone had to be replaced with an appropriate replacement. A couple days ago I ran out of diet mountain dew. I estimate I normally drink about 3 cans a day of this. Not only was this drink not around then, but people did not down soda like we do now. So, it has been a couple days since I had any, which I think is partially contributing to my feeling of fatigue and being burned out, not to mention some doozy headaches. I did drink some coke yesterday though. I had my last restaurant trip for awhile, Buffalo Wild Wings. People were also not constantly going out to eat.
Looking forward to getting started and just doing this already! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

50 in the 50's

Yeah, that's right. I am all over the place lately. Not all that much has happened lately. I am continuing to get things organized, but had lots of other stuff going on that put me a bit behind. This week I am preparing as best I can for my big project/experiment. As you may have guessed from the title I am going to attempt to live 50 days in the 50's lifestyle with a few minor exceptions. I thought this would be something different, but as I plan I find many people have already had this idea! I find that very interesting. I still will attempt this as I want to experience this for myself. Feel free to vicariously live through me and read about my adventures for the next 50 days!

My disclaimers: I am not suggesting this is for everyone, only that is something I would like to attempt and compare results on. I am not saying it will be ridiculous or that it will be wonderful (my best guess would be that it will fall somewhere in the middle.) If you find this offensive remember you do not have to read it. : )

My other disclaimer is that I will be attempting to do this the best that I can. I was not alive in the 1950's nor do I have a time machine. I will collect my information from various sources to try to get the overall best impressions of what is accurate. Anyone with additional ideas/information is welcome to comment at anytime. Some sources may be more accurate than others and I will honestly attempt to do the best I can. Can you imagine 60 years from now people trying to depict our daily life with issues of Cosmo and episodes of Jersey Shore as inspiration? (Gag!)

How this will be conducted:
This will begin on Sunday and last for 50 days. For these 50 days I will attempt to be the perfect mother/housewife of the 1950's. I will apply all information as much as possible. If I have to make exceptions I will note them.

How this will be posted on my blog:
The internet was not commonplace until the mid-ninties or so, however I will use some time to update my blog. I will try to post daily or at the least a few times per week. During the week I may post on a small portion of my day or on some aspect of the fifties. Once a week I will give an overall report on how things are going. I will also create a mini report on some various different factors to compare from week to week. I will try to have this report include some measurable things and some emotional/mental things. At the end I will post my overall impressions, what I learned, and what was the best/worst.

Things that will differ: As I will not be actual in the 50's some things might not be 100% accurate and I will note the exceptions as much as possible.

There you have it. Looking forward to getting started. : )

P.S. What the heck is the picture at the top of this post? I recently acquired this pair of birds. I haven't decided what I will do with them yet. I have tried to find out when these are from/where they came from, but I can't find a thing! Does anyone know anything about these? I see no markings with brand, date, etc. The bodies are cream with brown flecks and appear to be made of some type of  stoneware/ceramic material. The head and feet are made of metal which I think was painted to look like brass, but I don't think is actual brass. They do have a bit of weight to them. Anyone? I would be very grateful to anyone who can offer any information!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Okay. Maybe I am not triple crazy with three exclamation points crazy. I do feel a little sleep deprived, exhausted crazy. I am having a hard time even making sentences, whew! Looong day! So, I have had a kind of rough year without getting too specific or personal. It has taken its toll and snowballed from  there. I am now trying to claw my way back to 'normal-land.' Well, normal for me anyways. : )  I have some extreme ideas planned, but first things first.
The fact is a I have been depressed. I've been busy. My dishwasher and vacuum broke recently (vacuum fixed, dishwasher not.) My house isn't looking so pretty and I can't stand it, people! It gets messy then I feel more depressed which makes me feel tired... Anyways, I really wanted to get my booty back into gear and its anyone's guess whether or not I can do it. I have a project planned and we will consider this the 'transition.' 
Today I decided to get back into my old cleaning routine. This would be a light cleaning of areas, dishes, laundry and major clean in one area. Because I am behind I decided to skip the light cleaning part and just really focus on one area. Wednesday was the day dedicated for kitchen, back hall and back stairs.
About this area of my house. The kitchen is a small 10x10 room. The kitchen was remodeled by the previous owners in a way that is difficult to use. The back hall is a small area with hooks for hanging coats, etc., and the stairs lead to the basement.
Today was not fun. My body, namely back and legs, are screaming, at me. Ouchie. I cannot wait to go to bed and it is not quite 8:30.
I did three loads of laundry. Yes, that's right. One load of baby items, one lights, one darks. Many, many, many dishes. All by hand. If there are still people out there who get by without dishwashers (and I'm certain there are) wow. I tried to do the dishes in small loads throughout the day, to make it easier if that is logical. We had dishes from the day before, dishes from the day and 'extra dishes' from various other sources. I actually had to stop, aside from the crippling pain, because I ran out of dishsoap! For real. And my lunch was a hostess cupcake -yuck!- because I didn't want to create any extra dishes for myself! No lie. I also took care of some prep work for my 'work', cleaned up items for a rummage sale, watered plants outside, took care of kids (duh!) worked on some projects cluttering the kitchen and I'm too tired to recall what else. My back hurts so bad by 4:30 that I collaspsed on the couch for about 20 minutes before I took a bottle of some ibuprofen and got back to it. By about 6:30 I realized I had better make dinner. Next I realized hubby had about 3 lbs of ground beef sitting in the fridge that needed to be used. I browned half and made a double batch of hamburger helper. After this I will be making another to save for tomorrow. Besides the fact kids didn't eat till after 7. Bad mommy. Ugh. The picture above is of the kitchen around 5:30.  Not looking so hot. A loong ways to go. Yuck.
Not a good start to crawling out of the whole.
Tomorrow is a new day. Now to pry myself off this couch and make tomorrows dinner. Or fall asleep on  the couch. Yawwwwn.