Grandma died a year ago. She was as close to perfect as any person I have ever known. She taught me to love home.
She survived living through Nazi occupied Holland with very little food or anything else. Her husband survived work camps ( concentration camps) and other horrors of the war. They emigrated to America in the late 50's and began a new life with their family of 7. They were sponsored as "war refugees" by the congregation of a church in Newark NJ. A year and half later, her husband was killed in a work related accident. Even though she was alone in a strange country, she continued the dream they had of moving to Utah to raise the family. Her English was as limited as her options.
She eventually got a job as a cook in a school lunchroom and became a manager years later. She was an engaging storyteller (of her life in Holland) a fabulous cook, and an extraordinary homemaker....which is the point of this blog. We lived with her as newlyweds and I learned so much just watching how she did everything. I learned how to be a homemaker from her and to love it! She taught me that keeping a homey home for your family; being a home-maker, IS the coolest thing!
Here is a little of her good advice:
- buy food storage items in small sizes. Yes it's cheaper in larger sizes but for freshness sake and less waste buy in smaller packages.
- make your own slice and bake cookie dough. Make dough, roll into logs, wrap in wax paper, freeze, thaw, slice and bake. She always made the dough for her Christmas cookies in November.
- this one's for me...keep up the house during the week so you don't waste your Saturdays cleaning up and reorganizing.
- Fix your meals with a variety of color. She would never give you a plate of all white food (chicken. potatoes and cauliflower or corn and a roll. A variety of color gives you a variety of vitamins.
- Change your dishcloth every day. Her father said this was the mark of a good housewife.
- Another mark of a good house wife is a clean fridge top.
- Since you are pregnant for 9 months, you should stay down for 9 days to recover. (I loved having her come after I had a baby - she did everything for me, made all the meals, cleaned the house and guarded the treats from the kids.
- She believed in olive oil as a"keep skin young" treatment. (She got that bit of wisdom from an old Italian lady with beautiful skin)
- She dried her sheets outside so they would smell good, was diligent about spring cleaning and started cooking her Sunday meals on Sat. night (My husband loved being home on Sat nights because the house always smelled so good!)
- and finally..."never raise your hand to your parent (in anger) or you're hand will come out of the grave" !!