Sunday, October 1, 2017

Tea Time - The Importance of Formal Ceremony at Home

Tea table at Mrs. White's Vermont Home

I usually have tea in a regular coffee cup. It is almost always plain "Salada" tea. I do not take cream or milk. I only add a small amount of table sugar.  In my healthier days, I would drink peppermint tea with honey (never sugar).  Recently, for special occasions, I have been using dainty china cups.

I will not have "tea time" unless some of my grandchildren are present.  I do this to entertain them, to teach them manners, and to help them develop a sort of refined culture in daily life.

I will say to Miss Grandgirl (currently age 3), that I would like to have tea. This is usually after we have done some chores together and have colored with crayons.  She immediately says, in a rather dignified way, "okay." And immediately walks over to the hutch to get my tea cup and saucer.  She places it on the table for me, and we begin the process of preparing a "formal" tea.

I have to say that I was very hesitant to let her handle my fragile dishes. But after a few lessons at the sink washing some of them, she has proven to me that she cares very much and will try very hard to be cautious.  I also have to say that I am willing to give up any of my china and dishes with a sympathizing smile should there be an accident.  In other words, if Miss Grandgirl drops and breaks my cup or plates, I will gladly take the loss.  After all, at the end of life, we cannot take things with us.

At the table, there is a sugar bowl.  Just for fun, I have this filled with sugar cubes.  This is the "company best" sugar that adds to the fun of tea time.  I will say to one of the grandchildren, "I would like one sugar please."  They take turns getting me a cube and placing it into a tea cup.  This delights them!

We always use linen napkins. Some are homemade, some are store bought, and others have been given to us.  These are neatly folded and kept on the hutch or sideboard table.  The children will get one for each of us.  "These go on our laps," I tell them.  We also have extra napkins on the table beside our plates.

I keep a "creamer" container on the table which is always empty. It is there for looks, since none of us take cream or milk in our tea.  Perhaps in winter I will fill it with miniature marshmallows and turn "tea time" into "hot chocolate time."

There is a silver call bell at my place setting.  This is what one would use to call the maid to the table or ask for help.  Since I am the only maid (gentle smiles), I ring the bell to make the children smile.  I might say, "Time for tea," just before a ring.  Or I might say, "lunch is served" and then give the bell a little shake.  The children find this endearing.

In my kitchen, there is a small canister full of flavored teas.  The children and I have enjoyed papaya, and apple cinnamon the most.  I give the children only a taste with a teaspoon, and then I drink the rest.  They love the scent, the fancy cups, the sugar cubes, and watching the steam.  Then they are happy to enjoy juice and a treat in their own seats at the table.

We sit up straight, we talk politely, and we say our prayers with folded hands.  We ask each other, "Is there anything else you need?" or "Would you like some more?"   Here at the tea table, we learn to take care of each other. We learn to be kind and considerate.

Tea time is very short, but the lessons extend to meals.  The children always use linen napkins at grandmother's table.  We always use our very best manners, whether it is breakfast, lunch, or dinner time.  This does not mean that every one of us is perfect, or without fault.  There are still the gentle sounds of an argument among young ones.  There are still complaints about not wanting crust on one's sandwich, or the whining request for more juice. But the ideal is here.  The foundation is being taught by example each time we are at the table.  The children may have interruptions of trouble, but then we get back to our sweet and happy times of placing that linen napkin on our lap with a sweet smile, and then saying, "should we say our prayers now?"  This makes the children very happy.  We do the good things in the middle of the distractions.

If a home had more formal times of ceremony in daily life, there would be more respect and kindness. Manners have always been known to be a virtue and the foundation of a civilized society.  This is why, even though there are mostly little ones at my table, we find joy in a formal approach to tea.

My home is humble and old. My dining table was obtained from a neighbor's front yard with a "free" sign on it, almost 20 years ago. It seats 8.  A white tablecloth I use for "best" is more than 2 decades old.  My chairs do not match. My dishes are an assortment of mostly gifts and hand-me-downs. Yet, it is so very precious and beautiful to have formal manners and tea time in our very poor family. 

It will never be about the money we have, or the quality of the possessions we own.  It is about kindness, and morality.  It is about virtue, patience, longsuffering, and bringing beauty into our lives by our sweet behavior.


From the Archives -

Honoring Husbands - Cooking for Mister.

For The Hard Days - Make the Mess Look Pretty.

The Virtuous Mother - Amazing Dedication.

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Review - First Catechism

 The following is a homeschool review of "First Catechism," obtained by Christian Liberty Press:

Booklet:  "First Catechism: Teaching Children Bible Truths"
Publisher: Great Commission Publications.
Paperback, 38 pages.

This is an adorable little book that children will enjoy. The few illustrations are perfect for this age group (kindergarten and up).

The book contains 150 brief questions and answers that are simple to follow.  The format is derived from the 1840 "Catechism for the Young" by Joseph P. Engels.  It has been simplified for young children and made very clear and easy to follow.

Here are a few samples of the questions and answers:

Question 1:  "Who made you?"
Answer:  "God."

Question 76:  "How many commandments did God give on Mount Sinai?"
Answer:  "Ten commandments."

Question 102: "What does the eighth commandment teach you?"
Answer: "Not to take anything that belongs to someone else."

This book can be used in whatever way you, as the parent, feel is best for your family. You might find some of the questions and answers harder for smaller children to understand.  Or the questions might bring confusion to children of today, which would require a great deal of discussion.

Personally, I would pick and choose the questions that I think my students would benefit from most, and use Bible reading, family worship, and church lessons to teach the rest.

Overall though, it is a very cute book that could be a great resource in your home teaching.  You could also use it to quiz older children who would very much enjoy getting the answers correct.

You can find this book at the Christian Liberty Press site:

First Catechism

  This post is the seventh in a series of reviews I am doing using Christian Liberty Press curriculum.  I hope to do 2 reviews each month as I work with my grandson for Kindergarten. To start with the first post, please see the introduction:

"24 Years of Homeschooling with Christian Liberty Press"

* Disclosure - I received this item for review purposes.*

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Restaurant at Home

Cake at Mrs. White's Vermont Estate

I have a set of pretty dishes that came from a Museum.*  I have been saving them for just the right time to use here at our Estate.  They are so pretty and elegant.  I made room for them in the cabinet yesterday.  We just started using them.  I have to tell you that our home is very humble.  It is an old 1850's house that is in need of repairs and general maintenance.  I like to bring pretty things here, humble - old fashioned items, that bring class and elegance for very little cost. This brightens up our shabby surroundings.

* My dishes came from a community yard sale hosted by our town's museum a few years ago.  The entire box cost me $3.00. *

Setting these up in my kitchen inspired me to get back to the old time tasks of making good food for the family.

This morning, I grated mozzarella cheese and made a batch of whole wheat pizza dough, seasoned with oregano, garlic powder, and olive oil.  While I worked, there were grown children and grandchildren all around. We talked a little, but when it came time to knead the dough, I sent them into the parlour. I do my serious work when everyone is safely out of the way.  The little ones pulled up miniature rocking chairs and put them on the carpet nearby so they could watch.

I set up a fresh tablecloth on the dining table.  I put cloth napkins by each place.  The children noticed this was not the time for play dough or games. We were to have a lovely luncheon.  Soon the first batch of two pizzas were ready and the children enjoyed a nice lunch.

I was ready to take a break when one of my sons called to say he was on his way over to pick something up.  "Have you had your lunch?" I asked him.  He had not.  I told him I would make him a pizza. He was delighted.  This son is a chef in a beautiful Vermont Inn and restaurant. He greatly appreciates food made from scratch, with care and love. 

By the time he arrived, I was ready to put his pizza in the oven. It was covered with fresh organic spinach and cheese.  I started to clean up the mess so my kitchen and parlour were kept neat. This makes me happy. I love to see things looking pretty.  I delight in the work.

In the background, one could hear a gentle sound of an orchestra playing hymns from my kitchen radio.

Someone called for me to go out on an errand.  I was a passenger in the car and enjoyed talking about what I wanted to bake when I got home. 

Once I was back in my kitchen I prepared a white cake with chocolate frosting.  Then I put fresh sliced strawberries on a plate, along with a couple of small scoops of mint chocolate chip ice cream. To this was added a delicate slice of the cake. (See photo above.) A piece was served on one of my pretty new plates.

After all was clean and neat, I noticed the bananas and thought it would be nice to make banana pancakes in the morning. I looked in the refrigerator and thought of what I would make for the next day's lunch. 

In this area where we live, there are very few restaurants.  I have been to the Inn where my son works and it is upscale and beautiful.  Yet, there is nothing to compare to the humble, old fashioned home where I can bake and cook in my very own restaurant at home.


From the Archives -

A Happy Wife - Serving Mister.

I Will Always Try to Be - The Mother Who Isn't Busy.

You Can Do It! - Housekeeping - With A Will.

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Living a Quiet Life

Humble flower garden at Mrs. White's Vermont Estate

A few weeks ago, I bought three potted geraniums on clearance.  One had pretty red flowers. The other two were a gentle pink. The cost was $4.00 for all three.  I wanted to brighten up our front garden to add some cheer to our yard.  I am often looking out the second story window of our parlour and wanted to see some flowers. This was just what I needed.

It was inevitable that I would neglect them.  Once I put them in the homemade garden, I ignored them. I never visited them. (gentle smiles)  I never watered them. I left them alone because I am a terrible gardener. 

Despite my failures, the flowers thrived.  The red geraniums have constantly kept pretty flowers for me to see.  The pink ones look like they will soon produce more flowers very soon. I noticed it just today, when I finally ventured over to see how they were doing. I was delighted.

The sun on the lush green grass somehow makes the property look elegant. It is lovely to walk the grounds and enjoy the sounds of birds and nature.  It is a quiet way of life to walk the gardens and see the sights.

I have been settled comfortably here at home. My summer journeys and adventures are coming to a close.  It is time to get back to preparations for a rapidly approaching Vermont winter and enjoy the indoors for a season. 

I have been cleaning with the help of my little 3 year old granddaughter. She delights in clearing the table and doing little household errands. I will say, "Will you close that door please?"  She stands up straighter and says sweetly, as she walks toward the door, "Yes I will."  I will ask her to bring me the children's lunch dishes, help me put away puzzles, and make my bed.  She is a charming little housekeeper.

Last week we had a wonderful day on the front grounds.  There was a birthday for one of the children.  There were homemade activities created by the mother of the birthday child.  Most of the time, I was holding an 11 month old grandbaby. 

Mrs. White with one of her grandchildren

There was cake and juice and candy.  The games included ring toss, throwing water balloons into buckets, playing with bubbles, and going on the slides.  We all had such a lovely time hosted by one of my daughters here at the Estate.

This afternoon, as my lunch guests (grandchildren) were eating, I held the youngest baby and sang "Precious Memories" from the hymn book.  It is a lullaby for our life.

Being settled at home, doing all the many duties,  hearing angels cry, and the noise of family, to me, is quiet.  It is peaceful.  There is no anxiety from the world's materialism here. There are no advertisements and sales pitches coming at us while we are at the Estate.  Home is quiet. It is a quiet life focused on holy living and a happy family.


From the Archives -

D.L. Moody's Mother - Poverty in the 1800's.

In Case you wondered - Retirement Planning for the Poor.

It means everything - Just a Housewife.

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Review - The World God Made

The following is a homeschool review of "The World God Made," published by Christian Liberty Press:

Book: Softcover, 92 pages.

Grade Level:  Kindergarten

I have had such a wonderful time going through this book with my grandchild.  The pictures are bright and the text is large.  There are Bible verses throughout (NKJV) which go perfectly with each lesson.

The Author and Editor of this book did an outstanding job in choosing their text.  The words are clear, simple, easy to understand, and make it so easy to teach a small child.

Inside you will find seven sections of lessons.  These sections include the seven days of creation:

1. The Heavens and the Earth.

2. The Sky.

3. The Dry Land, Seas, and Plants.

4. The Sun, Moon, and Stars.

5.  The Fish and Birds.

6.  The Land Animals and Man.

7.  God Rested.

There are bright photographs throughout, along with illustrations for the student to color.  There are short questions and activities at the end of each section.

The lessons can be done at a pace of a page a day, (which is what I have been doing), or a couple of pages, depending on your student. 

In addition to this workbook, there is a Teacher's Manual.   It is 21 pages, stapled together and is a simple guide.  It contains answers to all the activities, a brief lesson plan, and very short instructions for each page in the workbook.  

You can find this book at the Christian Liberty Press site:

The World God Made

  This post is the sixth in a series of reviews I am doing using Christian Liberty Press curriculum.  I hope to do 2 reviews each month as I work with my grandson for Kindergarten. To start with the first post, please see the introduction:

"24 Years of Homeschooling with Christian Liberty Press"

* Disclosure - I received this item for review purposes.*

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