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Author: Miriam Lukken
Publisher: Warner Books
Year of Publication: 2003
You can read any history book for facts on famous people and events. But what if you want to know about everyday life a century ago? Believe me, I've looked, and it is much harder to find. If that is what you would like to read about, this book is a treasure trove of information!
First of all, I'll give you a little background on Mrs. Dunwoody. She started writing a notebook to be passed down to her children and grandchildren in the year 1866. Here is a quote from her letter to her children concerning what she was recording for them:
"In these notes, I have endeavored to impart the knowledge necessary for keeping a neat, well-ordered home. But beyond that, I wish for you to understand the larger issues of homekeeping - creating an environment in which all family members grow and thrive, a place where each member may evolve to the full extent our Creator intended."
Mrs. Dunwoody lived her life on the beliefs that "the housewife makes the home, and the home makes the nation."
Here are some bits of wisdom and advice from the different chapters in the book.
1. The home is of utmost importance in the spiritual, physical, and emotional health of each member of the family. The time we spend taking care of our home is never wasted. It should be a restorative place for all who live there, a haven to dwell in.
2. Good organization in the home prevents a great deal of stress. A routine makes organization easier, and keeps the home and family running smoothly.
3. Mrs. Dunwoody thrives on a routine where she rises early and gives her day to God in prayer. She believes this is the secret to a fruitful and productive day.
4. Routines are not restrictive. In contrast, they free you to be creative.
5. She suggests that after breakfast, you should take a twenty-minute walk around the house to tidy up. Take with you a basket and a dust cloth. Anything that is out of place can be put in the basket and returned to its rightful place. That saves a lot of going back and forth.
6. After this basic tidying is done, you can move on to the larger daily jobs.
7. She encourages keeping a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly housekeeping routine. If you do this, not only will your home be well-managed, but you will actually have more time for leisure. A "homekeeping notebook" is an excellent way to keep these chores organized.
8. Make a plan for your day, focusing on two or three main things you want to accomplish. Each day should have a goal with the priorities being taken care of.
9. Focus on a task for fifteen minutes of uninterrupted time, and it will be less overwhelming. Remember to take breaks and rest so you don't get overly tired.
10. To avoid procrastinating, do your most unpleasant chore first thing in the day. That will give you the happy and relieved feeling that what you dreaded is already done with.
11. "Strive for excellence, not perfection." Perfection cannot be achieved and will only lead to frustration. But you can attain excellence and will be rewarded for it in many ways.
The chapters cover housecleaning instructions and homemade cleaners, how to make beds and store linens, how to get rid of bugs and rodents.
There are extensive tips and techniques for laundry, sewing, recipes, cooking, herbs, entertaining, etiquette, old fashioned beauty secrets, recipes for a happy marriage, and gardening. The book has a section of fill-in pages in the back where you can record family trees, stories, and favorite recipes.
I encourage you to read this book slowly and savor the information in it. I have many passages underlined in pencil in my copy, so I can quickly go back and retrieve the ideas when I need them. These points barely touch on the storehouse of wisdom in this book. There are over 200 pages of pure, helpful content. You will want to keep this as a reference book on your shelf after you have read it.
I would recommend this book for any age of homemaker. No matter what age you are, you will get a great deal of wisdom from this special lady. Just about everything in the book can still be applied today.
Do you need guidance in managing your Christian home? Maybe you are new at keeping house, or struggling to manage your home. Possibly you are a successful homemaker already, but would like new ideas and tips to improve your home-keeping skills.
We invite you to join our online community of dedicated Christian homemakers. By joining this low-cost monthly membership, you will have full access to weekly online group coaching sessions, helpful articles, and a recipe database. You will learn how to save both time and money, and feel confident about your home. You can make new friends in the forums and chat rooms. Visit [http://christian-homemaker.com] for more information.