Explore the Crazy House

Monday, November 3, 2014

Day 1 of the 50s Housewife Experiment Take 2

This morning started out fairly well. I got up, showered, did my hair and makeup and proceeded to make coffee and breakfast. Promptly after breakfast I got to work. Now, while most housewives of that time generally cleaned about 3 hours (their homes were also smaller than ours) they cleaned every day. Since I've let some of my household chores slide a little this cleaning is taking me all damn day. Did I mention I have three teenagers home from school today and tomorrow?

While I originally started out cleaning the basement to some fabulous Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett records, that eventually ended when the first child decided they wanted to watch TV. Okay, cool. Whatever.  I just proceeded to clean, and finally moved upstairs. Have you ever heard the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I think that title works perfectly for mothers. I seriously can not tell you how many times I cleaned the exact same mess, the exact same room, until I finally exploded. The oldest boy had the audacity to ask me why I was mad. I just glared at him, sweating rolling down my forehead, while he munched away on pizza and dropped crumbs all over the table I had just wiped down and the floor I had just swept.

Deep breath in, deep breath out. I broke my own rule at one point and popped onto Facebook to vent. Mothers who lived in that time assured me it was nothing new. However, my best friend's theory is that mothers were able to beat their kids back then. Either way, I can't see my grandma allowing my mom and uncles to constantly make a mess as she cleaned.

Now, on top of trying to be the perfect vintage housewife around three kids I'm also dealing with a now three-legged cat. She was originally a stray who appeared one day and refused to leave. I really didn't want twenty more barn cats so I had her spayed. Well, either some kind of a predator got a hold of her, or she got into the engine of a car and the car was started. Either way, this is Grace now.
*Grace the Wonder Cat has her own Facebook page if you'd like to keep up with her recovery.*

I don't know if you can tell by this pic but she has massive damage to her right hip and rear end, damage to the left side of her face, cuts along her back, and had her right front leg amputated. So, on top of dealing with my normal day to day life, and attempting to live life as close to the genuine 1950s housewife, I've had to play nurse to this little girl. In case you haven't guessed yet, she will now be an inside cat.

I've tried several times to download the pics I've taken through out the day, including pics of my homemade chicken and dumplings I made from my 1954 Betty Crocker's Good and Easy Cookbook.
Sorry for the horrible pic. Took it with my phone,

I had my doubts as not only was this my first attempt at making chicken and dumplings, but it was from an old cookbook. There were so few ingredients for the dumplings, yet they were delicious since they were boiled in the broth made from stewing the chicken.

Sorry I can't post a pic of the actual meal. Stupid laptop! When I figure out where I'm going wrong I'll post, I promise.

Now, on to the rest of the day...I'm freaking exhausted! I swear I'm limping and my back is so sore! The only time I sat today was to fold laundry. Other than that I was on the go non stop. Oh wait, that's not true. I had to sit while driving to find a police officer to unlock my daughter's handcuffs. Yes, you read that correctly. My darling daughter threw her key in a huff, and her brother didn't know that when he locked her wrists in those damn metal contraptions, We were able to get one wrist out with soapy water, but the other was way too tight.

So there's my first day in a nut shell. Not really a failure, but not exactly a success...not in my eyes anyway. My makeup is smeared, and my hair went crazy hours ago. Tomorrow I'm babysitting my nephews for a few hours so I'll just pretend I'm going to my bridge club or whatever they did with the other ladies back then.

Night, y'all. My poor booty needs rest!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Rules For The 1950s Housewife Experiment

Let's lay down some ground rules, shall we? First of all, I have promised to get up, get dressed including my hair and makeup. As much as I'd love to actually flit around the house in a vintage house dress, I don't have one. *sniff sob* But I will someday. I have a pattern for just such a dress, I just need to squeeze it in with everything else I do every day....which is a lot! lol

So, we've got the hair and makeup thing covered. I WILL be donning the traditional 50s makeup and I will attempt the hair the best I can. Believe it or not, those styles are crazy hard to perfect.


On to the food part. I own a few vintage cookbooks from the 50s and 60s I will be using. Each day I will incorporate at least one item from one of the cookbooks. One day I might try a gelatin mold

 and on another maybe one of those decorative tomato thingies they used to do.
Each day will include at least one thing, but I promise you it will never be liver and onions or brain sandwich. Yep, those are both in two of my cookbooks!

If you haven't seen the cleaning schedule head over here and read through. Unlike the extreme lists that have been floating around lately, the housewife's daily chore list was extremely manageable and was usually completed in about 3 hours. The rest of the day was filled with cooking for the family (usually two sometimes three meals a day), sewing, gardening, canning, marketing (they were lucky to have one car. Most homes didn't have two and the wife would walk to the various specialty shops for groceries), walking the kids to and from school, and laundry. At this point more and more households had washers and dryers, but so many wives still ironed their family's clothes.

I will not be walking around saying gee whiz, golly, and swell, but I will be listening to my fabulous collection of vintage records. As we speak (I mean type) I'm listening to Andy Williams. Before this was Frank Sinatra. *sigh* Is there anything more beautiful than the old crooners on vinyl?

Oh, because my kids will be home Monday and Tuesday I will treat it as if I had small kids and actually prepare breakfast and lunch for them. (they absolutely refuse to eat breakfast before they get on the bus in the morning, but I don't know many teenagers who want to eat at six am). And my cat had her leg amputated this week and just came home today. I have to treat her wounds throughout the day and give her antibiotics. Yeah, I know, I kind of left you hanging with that story, but I promise to tell you the full thing in another post. AFTER the experiment! lol

So, there you have you it. I hope you stick around for all my successes and failures as a vintage housewife. I can't promise it'll be pretty, but if it's anything like last time it should be awfully funny!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Some Funky Vintage Commercials From The 50s! In honor of the upcoming experiment...

In honor of my upcoming experiment (which I learned today the kids will be home on Monday and Tuesday. That should definitely make the beginning of the week interesting), here are some vintage commercials and a "educational" video on cooking geared toward women. Then again, everything revolving around shopping, food, cooking, or laundry was geared toward women. What do you all think of these videos? I have a habit of watching these kind of things for hours at a time!

Is it me or are these Band-Aid commercials a little creepy?

How about the Sucrets commercial? You can smoke with ease! lol

Where are all these futuristic conveniences? Love this one!

Holy cow! 1095 meals?? And did anyone happen to notice the meals on that list? What in the world is salmon loaf?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Are you ready for another 50s housewife experiment?

If you had followed my other blog Traditional Housewife Against the World you probably remember the 1950s Housewife Experiment. While it was fun both playing June Cleaver and writing about it, something has come to my attention as I've done further research into my absolute favorite time period: This schedule is not accurate. It's no more accurate than housewives wearing pearls and heels to clean was accurate. And no, not every woman was demure and absolutely submissive. If you don't believe me ask my mom and uncles about my grandma sometime.
No, this isn't really my grandma. But she was a tough woman!

Now I'm sure you've all seen the cleaning list online, the one that makes the 1950s housewife appear more cyborg than human. If you're unfamiliar with the list you can head over here to my housekeeping/retro housewife blog. Yeah, yeah. I have two. Actually I have three, but this one will be merged with another. Anyway, as I was saying; After scouring the web and speaking with women from the era such as my grandma and mother-in-law I found this list to be more accurate:

  1. Mom would wake up and just like we do today her first chore was often to start the coffee. She had to do this first because it took ten to fifteen minutes to percolate.
  2. While the coffee percolated, she would often prepare her husband’s and children’s lunches.
  3. Next was breakfast prep, and despite what we’ve been lead to believe, every day was not a big breakfast day. Oatmeal, cold cereal, or toast were all typical weekday breakfast fare. Big breakfasts  with pancakes and eggs, and home fries were saved for weekend days. In some homes dad would eat and leave before the children woke up. And in other homes, everyone ate together. In any event, the entire morning breakfast routine doesn’t seem to be much longer than our modern-day counterpart.
  4. After eating, dad left for work and children were sent to make their beds, brush teeth and get dressed for school.  Clothing was usually planned and laid out the night before so there was no debate.  They knew what to put on and any resistance to getting these morning chores completed in a timely manner would be met with a promise to answer to dad later that day, so resistance was rare. Mom would often be tending to younger children at this time as well as possibly making her own bed and tidying her own bedroom.
  5. Where a 1950s mom’s morning really hit the time crunch that we don’t feel today is when it came time for the kids to actually get to school. Back then, a car or second car was almost unheard of. Mom had to walk the kids to school.  I think if I could change one thing from our modern-day morning routine back to the 50s version, the walk to school would be it. It was great exercise for everyone involved, and is probably one of the reasons obesity was less of an issue than it is now.
The time spent walking to and from school was also quality time spent together. Lots of good talks and bonding happened then. I remember walking to school even when I was a kid in the 70s. We lived three miles from my school, and I don’t recall hating the twice daily trek at all. I even remember loving the days when it rained because I got to wear my raincoat and my rain boots and use my umbrella. Stomping in puddles was great fun!  In the fall, I’d enjoy swishing through the leaves. In the winter, I remember catching snowflakes on my tongue while we walked. All fond memories.
Late Morning/Early Afternoon
Once mom returned from delivering the children to school, she’d often settle any younger children then she’d take a small break for tea and maybe listen to a morning radio show (usually heavily slanted toward wives and mothers because career women were almost unheard of).
Then the busy work of cleaning would begin.   The entire cleaning routine involved about three hours each day.   The beds were made and bedrooms tidied even before leaving for school, so now it was on to bathrooms, kitchen, living room, laundry, and floors.   Most cleaning was done with simple cleaning products such as baking soda, vinegar, ammonia, lemon, castile soap, and borax.   There were also some commercial cleaning products like Simoniz floor cleaner, Spick N Span, Brillo pads, and Windex, but most women used the basics and a lot of elbow grease.
Bathrooms were cleaned daily so it was a fast chore–no scrubbing required.   A few swishes with the brush in the toilet, a wipe down of all surfaces and mirror, empty trash, shake out carpets, sweep, then a quick mopping.   There was usually only one bathroom, so with just ten minutes, the bathroom duties were done.
This 1955 washer/dryer commercial shows that by the mid 1950s doing the laundry was significantly easier than in the days when it took an entire day to wash by hand, so the habit of washing and drying at least one load of laundry per day was born.

Cleaning the kitchen was also done daily, with a thorough cleaning of the refrigerator at least weekly, and a wipe down of all cupboards–inside and out–at least every few weeks.  Some things were more complicated back then, like the coffee maker, for example.   It needed to be dumped and cleaned by hand every day.   
Next, mom would move on to tidying the living room, dusting all furnishings, and controlling paper and other clutter.  Again, this was done daily, so this entire process didn’t take very long.
Lastly, there would be a quick shake out the area rugs, sweeping and damp mopping the floors, and that would complete the morning cleaning rituals.   Houses were much smaller, and wall-to-wall carpeting was still a luxury most homes did not yet enjoy, so even the task of floor care was not overwhelming.
Viola.  Cleaning complete.
For the 1950s woman, the rest of the day was filled with things like feeding lunch to the husband and children if they still came home for lunch (some did).  She might also have to walk to do some shopping and this could involve visiting several places since most items were provided by specialty shops like butchers, bakeries, and the like.  She might have mending and sewing or gardening and canning to do.  She might bake breads or pies.
Later in the afternoon she’d need to walk back to the school for a second (or third!) time at the end of the school day.  Then she had to come home and begin to plan and start dinner.
Evenings and nights were filled with bathing the kids, laying out the clothes for tomorrow, cleaning up the kitchen one last time, and then settling down to listen to your favorite radio program.  In those days almost nobody owned a t.v. and if they did it still wasn’t as popular as a good radio show.  By the time the evening programs came on, mom was ready to put her feet up and take a well-deserved break.
As much as I'd love to take credit for this fabulous list I can't. All credit goes to Holly Connors over at one of my favorite blogs, The Modern Day 50s Housewife. I've spent countless hours reading through her posts! She's fabulous on so many levels.
So, why am I bringing this all up you ask? Because my housekeeping has slipped! I keep trying to go back to my normal schedule or even attempt another experiment, but each time I come up with a new excuse; gotta run errands, have to help my mom move, husband's on vacation, The Walking Dead is on. Whatever. All these things (except The Walking Dead, of course) were still going on in the fifties. And they still had to do their normal day to day schedules!

And now to the point of this post: I, Christy Parks, do commit to live as a 1950s housewife for the week of November 1-November 8. This includes, but is not limited to, hair and makeup done each and every day, house cleaned on a regular schedule, a home cooked meal on the table every night (already do this), limited television and computer time (I still have to write books to make a living, after all), and I will attempt at least one retro meal or snack each day during this experiment. I can't promise this one will be any prettier, but I'm sure as hell going to try. Hell, I might even try to wear false eyelashes this time!
*This next link doesn't really relate to the post. I just really love vintage ads, especially when they're household products! Go check this site out. It's got everything from vintage refrigerator ads, to the very first color television ads!*

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Walking Dead - First Two Episodes - SPOILER ALERT!

Okay, here's your warning now. If you haven't watched the last two weeks of The Walking Dead there WILL be spoilers ahead! WARNING! SPOILERS! WARNING! SPOILERS!

You've been warned, therefore, if you continue to read do not come whining to me!

Let's talk about the level of violence and gore in this season, shall we? Hellooooo? The freaking trough to catch the blood when they systematically cut the victims' throats? Yeah, I giggled, but only because I knew it wasn't real. No really. Seriously! I'm not morbid or anything, I just love some decent gore, violence, and action in my television shows and movies.

Now, when I saw this scene...
I seriously started getting pissy. I knew they wouldn't kill Daryl; every female viewer would've stormed the damn network. However, having Bob and Glenn in the scene I was scared one of them would go. But, did you notice the connection at the end of the row of males?

Don't get all squeamish. If you're reading this post you're a fan and watch Talking Dead, too! You know how they achieved that!

That's the hippy guy from last season, the whom Rick gave his watch to. Ahhhh, ringing a bell now isn't it? I should also tell you that is the actor who will be playing The Penguin in the new Gotham. So, Rick's long last pal (mild sarcasm) gets it - and how freaking awful was the sound of that bat hitting the back of their heads - and they finally come to Glenn. I really didn't think they were going to kill him. It's just too early for any major characters to bite it yet.

On to the major characters. Has there EVER been a better reunion than Carol and Daryl?
Anyone who doesn't think Daryl is madly in love with that woman is INSANE! Yeah, I've heard some theory that he's gay...PUH LEASE!!! He's CRAZY about that grey haired bad ass! Hell, do you remember this episode?
Even something as small as back when he was searching for Sophia day in and day out. Of course, Daryl Dixon is a very loyal man with a big heart, but that heart has DEFINITELY been stolen by Carol Peletier! Okay, so I've gotten a little carried away with the Caryl thing! lol

Anyway, on to October 19th's episode.

I know I'm not the only one doing the side eye at this Reverend. I don't care how good hearted you are, or how long you've been barricaded in a church, at some point in the year and a half to two years since the outbreak you've learned how to kill a damn Walker! You had to at some point toughened up and gotten some Rhino skin! But not this guy, oh no. He's still shaking in his priest collar every time one comes near and about pees himself when that woman - his wife, perhaps? - shows up in the food pantry.

Oh, and did Rick call it the first episode or what? Did he not say none of the Termites deserve to live? Instead, they're still out there eating people, have taken and begun to eat sweet Bob, and wasn't that the dude Tyreese supposedly killed in the background?

You can go watch that end scene again here.

That was, by far, one of the most messed up final scenes! Yeah, the whole Lizzie thing got me, but at least we had a few minutes to catch our breath before the credits began to roll!

That's all we'll talk about for today! It's currently Sunday at 11:44am CTD, so we won't be adding anymore about tonight's episode. There are some who won't be able to watch until Monday and I SO don't want to be the one to ruin any surprises for them!

I gotta know, am I the only one who giggles nervously through the majorly gory scenes? 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Saturday Sexiness 10-25-14

I have yet to find this incredible male's name, but if you have any idea where to find his page, by all means, share away! I'm a huge fan of Stephanie Rowe's Order of the Blade series. My all time fave character is Thano...this man EMBODIES Thano! Can you tell why I've been begging her for a couple years now to write this man's book?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Fun Video - The yummy boys from Supernatural....

Here's your Friday fun! If you're not a fan of Supernatural now's the time to start watching reruns. Two hot guys, demons, supernatural creatures...yeah, you can't go wrong with this show!

Did I mention two smoking hot AND funny guys?