The Wife from the Past

I was catching up on my daily reading over at Talia’s blog, where she shared about spending her sick day on the couch watching TV Land. All the talk about the good old, black and white days reminded me of this old magazine article. You may all have seen this already (I know it was circulating through email forwards a while back), but if you haven’t, it’s definitely worth a moment of your time.

The Good Wife’s Guide

From Housekeeping Monthly, 13 May, 1955

  • 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 favorite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.
  • Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.
  • Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.
  • Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives.
  • Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper, etc. and then run a dustcloth over the tables.
  • Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
  • Prepare the children. take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair and, if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part. Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.
  • Be happy to see him.
  • Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.
  • Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first – remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.
  • Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.
  • Your goal: try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.
  • Don’t greet him with complaints and problems.
  • Don’t complain if he’s late home for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.
  • Make him comfortable. have him lean back in a comfortable chair of have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.
  • Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.
  • Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.
  • A good wife always knows her place.

It’s interesting how things have changed, isn’t it? :)

Merci Beaucoup!

I recently celebrated my 22nd birthday and was blessed with very sweet and thoughtful gifts from my family and friends. It’s always been important to me to send thank-you notes, letting the giver know how I appreciate the time, thought, and money they generously spent on me.

I’ll admit that when I was younger, Mom would have to force me to sit down and write them all (it can be a tad overwhelming when you turn 18 and your entire church congregation attends your party), but now that I’m older I’ve found a few ways to enjoy it…

Don’t be lazy.

Emailed thank-yous aren’t nearly as personal as handwritten ones. That little bit of extra effort goes a long way in showing you are truly grateful.

Don’t procrastinate.

It’s best to write your notes as soon as you can. If you’re running behind, remember that it’s better to send a late note than nothing at all. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed with that huge list staring you down, break it up and write the notes on different days.

Don’t be boring.

Invest in some stationery, woman! These are pretty irresistible…

Target – Monogram Notecards

Tiny Prints – Pink Birds on a Branch

Wedding Paper Divas – Little Bird

Wedding Paper Divas – Modern Paisley

A thank you card is the perfect way to show appreciation for something a person has given. Remember that when someone receives a thank you note they feel stronger about that person’s character, they feel as if they’re important enough to you to be worth your time, and the bonus… you give them that all-too-rare, simple pleasure of opening an envelope that isn’t junk mail!

I also think it’s a fabulous idea to have plenty of extra cards in case of emergency. I keep a box of birthday, thank-you, anniversary, and even blank cards for those last minute uh-oh moments. If it happens, there’s no reason for anyone to know. ;)

Would You Like a Spot of Tea?

Mmm, tea. Whether you prefer it over ice while sitting on your front porch, or steaming hot with honey while reading a good book, you can’t deny it’s the perfect beverage.

There are endless varieties and flavors – white, black, green, chai, flavored with syrups and enhanced with fruit – but my absolute favorite way to enjoy it is hot, with one lump of sugar out of a sweet little tea cup.

My Grammy started a family tradition of Girl’s Day when I was about 8 years old. Grammy, Mom and I would all get dolled up and have high tea, complete with finger sandwiches and cranberry scones, at the Victoria Rose Cottage. It’s a treasured tradition that we still enjoy today, almost 15 years later. It’s such a delight to sit and visit in such a lovely atmosphere with my two favorite ladies.

If you’ve never experienced hot tea, make it a priority! It’s the ultimate, girlie treat. The Republic of Tea is a well known distributor, and offers some very delicious flavors. Ginger Peach is my all-time favorite… I carry a travel size tin in my purse for whenever I need a quick fix.

A less-popular, but equally fantastic choice is Culinary Teas. My Mom had me hooked on Caribbean Blue Lady after the first sip.

Do you have a treasured, girlie tradition? A collection of tea pots? A yummy recipe for scones? Do tell…

Parlez-Vous Français?

Fleur-de-lis

You may not have realized it My Dear, but you are a French speaker. There is a seemingly endless list of French phrases used by English speakers in everyday situations… Granted, they are usually in the wrong context and often butchered by poor pronunciation, but hey, we’re trying!

It’s very surprising when you realize how many of these phrases we know and how often we use them. I’ve compiled a list of some of favorites.

adieu – until God
Used as ‘farewell’ when you don’t expect to see the person again until you’re in Heaven.

au fait – conversant, informed
Used to mean ‘well-read’ or ‘familiar’ with a certain topic or idea.

au gratin – with gratings
Refers to anything grated and served on top of a dish, such as cheese.

avant-garde – before guard
Meaning ‘innovative’, especially in fashion and the arts.

billet-doux – sweet note
A love letter… aww. I want one!

bon appétit – good appetite
Similar to saying, “Enjoy your meal.”

bon voyage – good trip
It sounds more elegant than “Have a good trip”, doesn’t it?

carte blanche – blank card
Having the freedom or ability to do whatever you want.

chic – stylish
We don’t need an explanation for this, do we ladies?

du jour – of the day
Usually referring to the Daily Special at restaurants.

faux – false, fake
As in, all my Louis Vuitton bags.

faux pas – false step, trip
Used to describe a mistake or slip-up.

fleur-de-lis – flower or lily
An emblem in the shape of an iris with three petals.

gauche – left, awkward
Lacking social grace.

haute couture – high sewing
Referring to expensive clothing styles.

RSVP – respond please
This abbreviation stands for Répondez, s’il vous plaît. If you take one thing from this list, let it be that saying “Please RSVP” is redundant.

soirée – evening
If often refers to a fancy, elegant party.

touché – touched
Used originally in fencing, meaning “you got me”.

Have fun with these, but you may want to limit their usage to avoid sounding like Christian from Project Runway. ;)

Hankie Panky

There are few things that are capable of making you feel as dainty as a handkerchief.

How classy is it to gently wipe your tears (or nose, as even ladies must do) with a lovely cloth hankie, rather than with boring old Kleenex? They are one of the simple luxuries that make life just a little more sweet, and you a little more fabulous.

You’d be surprised at how few people even know what a handkerchief is these days. A teacher I know once sneezed into one in front of her classroom of 3rd graders, to which she was met with quite a few jaw drops and even more confusion.

The shops on Etsy.com offer a variety of adorable hankies, where I found this darling… I get bonus points for the monogram. :)

Some see using handkerchiefs as the environmentally-friendly option, so if you’re a part of the ever-growing Go Green movement, you may want to consider it.

Then again, if being super adorable and environmentally conscious isn’t your thing, you can always rely on the sleeve of your shirt.