Saturday, January 31, 2015

What I'm Reading in 2015, January: Mrs. Dunwoody's Excellent Instructions for Homekeeping

I've never been the type of person to set much store in New Year's resolutions.  I know it sounds cynical, but I always feel like if you make New Year's resolutions, you are setting yourself up to fail.  Because people always make "those" resolutions.  You know, "I'm going to lose 20 pounds this year", "I'm going to run 20 marathons", things like that.  Goals like that, to me, aren't really realistic and by about, oh March, the majority of people who buy those expensive gym memberships in January are then staring at the gym card stuck to the fridge while digging into a pint of Ben and Jerry's.

To me, a big reason that these goals fail is because they are BIG goals.  I mean losing 20 pounds, heck even 10, isn't as easy as those gym commercials make it out to be and people get discouraged quickly when they realize that reaching the goals they set just isn't going to happen quickly.

So, when this New Year rolled around I made the following resolutions:
1.  Instead of dreading the entire year, I would only dread one day at a time (thank you, Charlie Brown, for that bit of wisdom).

2.  I would read more good old fashioned BOOKS.
See, I'm kind of a research nerd, but I do so primarily online.  I'm not sure why I do that, but I just do.  And I've noticed that while reading and being able to find stuff online is great there are two major problems with it.  One, if I read on an electronic device too close to bed (which is the only time I really find time to read), it effects my sleep patterns.  And two, if I read it online it doesn't absorb into my brain the way reading from a good, old fashioned, page turning book.  I think a portion of that is because I'm a slow reader, but I absorb what I read and with books I can page back a few pages and start a part over again if I didn't get it all absorbed into my head the first time.  And bookmarks are wonderful things (so says the masses of bookmarks sticking out of every book I own *laugh*).

So, during this year, and hopefully ones in the future, I figured I'd share what book I read this month (one book a month is my goal), just because it's fun and might turn you onto something you might not think of reading otherwise.

And so we come to the book for January, which is...

 Mrs. Dunwoody's Excellent Instructions for Homekeeping: Timeless Wisdom and Practical Advice, by Miriam Lukken .

When times starting getting scary tight for us last year, I discovered a few new obsessions.  One was the social history of how those on the home front during WWI and WWII survived during hard times of rationing and also I became obsessed with the science of Home Economics.

See, the last Home Ec course I took was back in junior high that was worth anything and my Home Economics teacher was awesome and taught us a lot, but she never went over things like housekeeping and the best way to keep things clean that had been clean the day before (with an autistic son, my home always looks like a tornado hit it no matter how much I clean it seems, so I really wanted to get my housekeeping skills more organized).

And this was a book that taught some home economics in a fun way.  The book is "written" by Mrs. Dunwoody, a Southern widow who starts writing the book in 1866 for her children and she dishes out wisdom with Southern style. 

I found the book charming and for a book that is 220 pages of reading length long (the ending pages have pages to start your own notes to make your own book of knowledge and such) I actually read the book in about a day, which is impressive for me.  It covers pretty much everything from how to do a house cleaning schedule, to how to entertain for a large crowd of people, different recipes...even how to treat snake bite and how to white wash your walls come spring (course, the author points out when outdated techniques are probably NOT a good idea to use and what modern equivalents to put in instead).

I run an allergy friendly food blog in some of my spare time, so I got the book as soon as I saw recipes would be involved.  Oddly enough, the recipes didn't even come close to blowing my socks off, but I still greatly enjoyed the book.  The book is thorough and by the time you get done reading it, you'll be inspired to at least clean and organize SOMETHING in your home.  Doesn't that make it worth getting just for that?  I was inspired to rearrange my hallway pantry (used to be a hallway closet) to fit things better and redid my china cabinet so it was attractive looking and I was finally happy with how it was organized.  For the first time in three years (my "china cabinet" doubles as a medicine cabinet because my son can't open it and just holds a bunch of sundry items and such that I've collected. Oh and some herbs that I use for making skin creams.  And other stuff.  So yeah, getting all that to co-mingle was impressive).

I bought the print version of this book as one of my Christmas gifts to me (har), but you can buy it on Kindle if you prefer your books in e-format.  But, I definitely recommend making it part of your homekeeping library (if you have one...I'm just starting mine, but am proudly including this one).


  1. Instead of dreading the entire year, I would only dread one day at a time.

    Love it! Thanks for the laugh. Hope things are better for you today.

  2. I downloaded this from my public library and stayed up late last night reading it. Thanks for recommending it.