Playing House in Real Life

Dressing Baby -- Little Girl with Her Doll

I spend every waking moment caring for two of my grandbabies. Their every smile is my joy.  Their falls and spills are my opportunity to comfort and encourage them.  They brighten a room with their adorable presence.

When the infant cries, the toddler comforts her.  I love to see how much they love and care about each other.  I love to sit in the big chair, in the nursery corner, and read piles of books with them.  They mostly point to pictures and repeat some of my words.  They are learning.

I prepare bottles for baby, and simple lunches and snacks for the toddler.  I dress them in their blanket sleepers after baths, and dress them in their nicest clothes for an outing.  We are home, here at the Estate, for most of the time and it is a peaceful, happy place to be.

Sometimes there is crankiness or willful moments of temper, but we soothe them with our patient understanding and kindness.  I have many helpers here.

I love that someone else makes my lunch, or brings me tea so I can “Play house” with the babies.  I love that I have others to do some of my chores so I am free to sing lullabies and rock in the old chair with a baby.

I also love to do some of the cleaning while holding a baby.  One morning I had to vacuum the downstairs carpet, and the toddler got his toy push mower and “vacuumed” along with me.  I tell him we are “cleaning the mess.”  He thinks this is part of our daily routine and is entertained.

Many of us had dolls when we were little girls.  We would have doll blankets and clothes and little beds.  We would keep our rooms neat and care for our “babies.”  We did this so lovingly and patiently.  This is what it feels like, now, as I get to care for these precious children.  Yet, when I notice myself getting overtired or overwhelmed, I pick up one of the cherubs and kiss a chubby cheek and tell the baby what wonderful fun we are going to have in the nursery, and we go and play as if we have all the time in the world.

Mrs. White

From the Archives

A Wonderful Place to be – Grandmother’s Nursery.

Mrs. White’s latest book:

Only $5.00 - “Old Fashioned Motherhoodbaby and child care advice from a New England Housewife.”

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Living in Reduced Circumstances

People Line Up to Receive Surplus Foods in St. Johns Arizona. Oct, 1940

Several years ago, during a major oil crisis, gas prices rose to over $4.50 a gallon here in rural Vermont.  This caused food prices to skyrocket, partly due to the cost of fuel for the freight trucks who were delivering inventory to all the supermarkets.  

Many could not afford to drive to work and had to find ways to carpool, walk, or find some other form of transportation.  I remember having to give up going to church and limiting youth group events for my (then) teenage children.  It was shocking to realize we couldn’t afford the gas to drive to church!

One of the hardest things during this time was having just enough food to feed one’s family with little or nothing left over to share with a guest. Many did not entertain at home. Having company was rare and difficult. Offering just a cup of tea to a guest when one wanted to offer cake or pie was depressing!

Nobody wants to live in want or hunger. Nobody wants to feel like buying sugar to bake cookies would be a financial burden when the family needed more nutritious foods like vegetables or meat.

Food pantries in our county were suddenly full of the more affluent in our area.   We were told that many could not afford to buy food and pay basic living expenses at the same time.  One large church in our area was open on a daily basis and gave out emergency food boxes which were expected to last a family, or individual, for a couple of days.  We were seeing both homeless and middle class in the same breadlines.  Nobody wanted to be there.  Nobody wanted to need charity, but the economy forced many to seek help just to eat.

Another church in our area had a monthly potluck supper offered right after the morning service.  Almost everyone brought hot food, desserts, salads, bread and treats to share with each other.  This way each family could contribute what they could and enjoy a nice big meal without feeling like they were getting a handout.    This same church also provides a large spread of refreshments in the dining room after every Sunday service.  Most of the food is brought in by members of the congregation and is a lovely way to comfort one another with both food and fellowship.

There were certain days of the week where local supermarkets would provide display tables with food samples.  Children of customers were also given a cookie from the bakery or a piece of cheese from the deli.  This made grocery shopping, on limited funds, a special outing and a way to gratefully enjoy a special treat. It benefited the stores as well since they were able to offer new foods, and have a nice way to encourage customers to shop.

Today, times are better.  Gas prices have dropped to around $2.88 in our area.  This is the lowest I have seen it here since before the oil crisis hit our nation.  Yet, there will always be someone, or some family, struggling through a time of poverty, a time of “reduced circumstances.”  These are the people on a financial adventure who will overcome the difficulties with prayer, faith, hard work, and the blessing of a good church family.

Mrs. White

From the Archives

I will never Regret Staying Home – A Humble Parlour as a School of Theology.

He Still Hears us - Prayers Which Cannot be Uttered.

Marriage – When Groceries are the Presents.

Mrs. White’s special book for Homemakers – “Mother’s Book of Home Economics.”

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Time with Mister

Winter Scene, Dalarne

One of the grown children called in the early evening.  He just finished his shift at work and had locked the keys in his car. Could someone come by with a spare set and help?  We looked out the window. It was not quite 5 o’clock.  It was dark and snow was falling.  The streets were slippery. Mister offered to drive.  I went along for the ride.

Rural Vermont in the winter is a beautiful, peaceful place to be.  I find it very restful when Mister does the driving. I can sit and enjoy the snowy landscape.  Mister often reaches out to hold my hand as he drives along.  He lets me listen to what I like on the car radio.  At this time of year, Christmas music is playing continuously on our local station. 

When we arrived at our destination, Mister got out and cleaned off our son’s car.  The door was opened with the spare key, and the engine was started to warm it up.  I watched the two of them under a lamplight, talking, as snow fell all around them.   I was thankful to be in a warm, cozy car.

As we drove back home, it was pleasant and quiet.  I remembered our last outing, when we dropped off one of the vehicles for repairs early one morning.  The drive home with Mister is always special because it doesn’t happen very often.

In almost 3 decades of marriage, we have never had a “night out.”  We never went on a “date.” It is not something we ever thought about.  Our time outside the home or family was always practical.  Our outings are essential errands.  They have always been that way.

During these drives, we don’t argue. We don’t talk about any worries or problems because they don’t enter our minds.  We enjoy the car ride and the beauty around us.   Mister makes sure the car heat is warm enough for me, and that I am comfortable. He opens the door for me and makes sure I am safe.  These gentlemanly acts of kindness are what make the trips a little respite from the trials of life.

We are also very grateful when we arrive safely back at home.  Despite our flaws and normal annoyances in daily life, we have work to do.  It does not matter that we are both worn out.  Our children and grandchildren need us.  They need us to stand strong – together-  and get back to the business at hand – the striving and cultivating of a godly lighthouse, despite a cold, imperfect world.

Mrs.  White

From the Archives

Are You one of These?  – A Good Little Housewife.

When Things Gets Stressful, It is time to – Take Back the Home!

Is This True? – Only Rich People Have Clean Houses.

Mrs. White’s special book for Homemakers – “Mother’s Book of Home Economics.”

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Sweet Holiness on Mama’s Birthday

Sermons in the Fog

I had 30 minutes in the kitchen. Two of my grandbabies were in the nursery with their Uncle. He babysat while I went into my favorite room in the house.  I got out the bundt pan and made a chocolate fudge cake.  While I worked, I turned a CD sermon on my kitchen radio. It was by the late Dr. Curtis Hutson.  It was so precious!  At the time the sermon was recorded (I think it was in the 1990’s), he had cancer.  He was in his last days here in this world.  Someone had to help him onto the pulpit, he was so weak and weary.  He preached a beautiful, heart-stirring message, and he also broke into humble songs. I sat on my kitchen stool and frosted the cake, as gentle tears came to my eyes.  These were tears of sweet happiness.

In old southern churches, congregants are often seen crying with a peaceful and joyous look in their eyes.  Onlookers may not understand. But what is happening is that the message being preached (through a heart close to the Lord . . .  a humble precious heart), causes a melting of the normal coldness and frost the world seeps onto our hearts.  Our tears are ones of holiness.  We are being warmed by the fire of godliness and it melts our souls.  It makes us well.  The tears, with a sweet smile, is a sign of happy joy in the Lord.

I was so grateful to be in the kitchen doing what I love on this special birthday.  It is a good day to be revived and reflect upon one’s life.  

How much more work can I do for the Lord? Each day is an honor and a gift.  Each birthday I am drawn closer to my last day here in this world.  I am heaven bound.  Not because of me, but because of the dear Lord who is longsuffering and merciful. 

I am so grateful for the laborers in God’s holy fields, who lift us all up and encourage us along the way – no matter how rough and difficult the road can be.

Mrs. White

From the Archives:

We Need More of This – Homemaking Propaganda.

An Inspiring Life – Corrie ten Boom – In My Father’s House.

Lovely Hymns – Singing Comfort to Baby.

Mrs. White’s special book for Homemakers – “Mother’s Book of Home Economics.”

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Preparing for a New England Thanksgiving

Plimoth Plantation, Massachusetts Scene

I am reminded of my old Massachusetts home at this time of year.   Our family had a membership at Plimouth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  I took my children there many times.  We wandered around the living museum observing costumed actors going about the historic daily life of the Pilgrims.

The settlement was right beside the ocean. The whipping sea winds made the cold Autumn weather icy and bitter.  (Having lived most of my life at the ocean in a nearby town, I know how difficult the winter ocean air can be.) The simple homes the people lived in had fireplaces to keep them warm.  Each house had only one room. They were like tiny cottages with a bed and a table. Each family: mother, father and children lived in their own cottage. I saw the hard work each had to do. There were gardens to cultivate, heavy clothing to wash, outdoor kitchens to work in, an abundance of wood to chop, and babies and children to take care of.  This was all for survival.  This was the beginning of a new life here in America for these foreigners.  I often thought how much warmer and nicer life would have been if they had settled out in the mountains rather than by the cold ocean. But it was far too dangerous at the time.

On each of our many visits to the Plantation, we sat in their humble church.  I was in awe.  I love how the people themselves built the church using the nearby trees for building supplies.  There were straight and plain benches for the congregation and a place in the front for the Minister.  This was where he encouraged the people and inspired them to holy living so they could face the coming week ahead.  This was where he preached and taught against sin and convicted their hearts and minds to stay on that precious heavenly path. 

The journey the Pilgrims took to get to this country was treacherous.  Have you seen the Mayflower ship?  A short drive from the Plantation brings you to Plimouth Rock and the Ships for tourists.  We have walked through the boat and have seen the living conditions, which tells me that those people had a strength of character and a moral endurance to accomplish something few of us today could manage. 

Many died on that ocean voyage.  Many also died before the first year on the Plantation.  I am sure the Pilgrims prayed constantly for health and continued courage.  The Bible was the most important book to them.  They taught it to their children.  They comforted one another with it’s words.  They lived it!

That first Thanksgiving was modeled after the Biblical time of feasting. The Pilgrims, who were deeply religious, most likely were inspired to do this from Leviticus 23: 34, which is the commandment for the Feast of Tabernacles (or “Sukkot”- meaning “booths” or “temporary dwellings”).  This was a time to gather up the harvest to worship and thank God for his provision. 

This time of year, many of us want to throw a large celebration.  We might spend far more money on food than we can afford, and not even consider it’s folly.  The high cost of food makes many of us poor.  For those who have farms and are growing their own apples and fruits, have their own turkeys, and grow their own vegetable – these are the people who can have a plenteous table with food grown for very little cost, with the work of their own hands.  But for the rest, who have to buy every apple to make a pie, or have to buy the turkey and the potatoes and all the rest, far too  much money can be easily spent.  This is not the purpose of the Thanksgiving holiday. 

In our home, I have to count the cost.  I have to find the sales and “scour out the land” to make our Thanksgiving wonderful, but something we can afford.  We will have our own family and guests as well.  It will be a precious and delightful time.  But I will host this in a manner in which I can afford, and with creativity and the works of our own hands.  I will make what I can, and buy what I can afford.  We mothers can make these special times because of our labor and prudence.

The Pilgrims were a humble people who sought after holiness.  Their first Thanksgiving feast was a joyous time to enjoy the prosperity of an abundance of food the Lord had provided for them.

Let us follow their example despite a consumerist, ungodly culture around us.

Mrs. White

From the Archives:

What Life is Like – Living Without Credit Cards.

Mother inspires the Family – The Cultured Society of Home.

Summer Days at the Estate – Walking the Gardens with Baby.

Mrs. White’s special book for Homemakers – “Mother’s Book of Home Economics.”

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Home Life in New England

Cape Primrose (small)

I noticed some little pine cones around some of the trees on the front grounds of our Estate.  I thought it would be so nice to bring them in, and decorate.  I wanted to get back out there with my grandson and have him help me. He is 2 years old now.  But things got very busy with the care of the house and the care of two of my grandchildren.  My sweet, little grandboy has a sister who is 7 months old.  I remember walking around the property with him the first year of his life. I showed him my attempts at gardening and he loved being held while we walked and talked about the Estate.  His sister hasn’t had that privilege. I have found it difficult, in my old age, to tend to both of them on the grounds without help.  I get tired much too easily.  So I have to conserve my strength, leaving outdoor playtime with the babies to others in the family.

The other day, I noticed new daisies growing by the front porch. I would walk by the window and see them starting to blossom from a large plant one of the children had given me this past mother’s day.  I couldn’t believe new flowers were coming at this time of year, here in cold New England, in November?  It made me smile.

I am making Thanksgiving preparations and want to get back outdoors to gather some pine cones to decorate.  I will have to make the effort, this coming weekend, to take my grandbaby girl out with me.  I need to show her what the grounds look like this time of year. I want her to see the leaves before they are covered by the coming Vermont snow.   I remember, this past summer, walking her by the back river as we listened to the rushing of the water on the rocks.  There is a serene peacefulness to being out in this quiet retreat we call HOME.  

I was tidying up my dressing room and found a miniature porcelain doll. It is a little pilgrim doll I bought, years ago, while in a gift shop at Plimouth Plantation.   I will bring it out to display on the hutch in the parlour. The children will enjoy seeing it when they come home for Thanksgiving in a couple of weeks.

I have limited Internet access, and have enjoyed being completely without it for a few months.  I hope to write here when possible, but will continue to send out a monthly newsletter.  Old fashioned mail is such fun.

Mrs. White

From the Archives:

Encouraging children to clean –  Nobody wants to Clean a Messy House.

A Challenge and a Privilege – Living on Mister’s Income.

Mrs. White’s special book for Homemakers – “Mother’s Book of Home Economics.”

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Old Fashioned Motherhood

Bedtime Prayers

I have taken three months off from blogging here.   During this time, we welcomed our fourth grandchild this summer.  We are also helping the great – grandparents as they pack up and get ready to move south. Things are changing at our Vermont Estate.

I have had temporary access to Internet this past week.  I wanted to let you know that a new book has just been published.  I wrote it as I was helping take care of my grandchildren.  I have been remembering all the things we did when our own children were little, and what life was like a generation ago. 

I put together a small little book, “Old Fashioned Motherhood.” It is a short, but peaceful read that will encourage the Christian mother who is taking care of babies and small children.  It has little bits of advice on a variety of topics.

“Old Fashioned Motherhood: Baby and Child Care Advice from a New England Housewife.”

ISBN-10: 0692274731
The Legacy of Home Press

This is a 62 page, plain, paperback book with a simple cover.  It was written as I sat in a rocking chair by the parlour window, rocking one of my grandbabies.  I hope it will encourage you.

I would love your help in getting the word out about my new book.  I am very grateful for your support and encouragement!

I don’t have much time online, but will be available for a few more days.  This will be the last post for quite some time. 

For those who are interested, I am writing a small monthly newsletter and sending this out by regular mail. It is free to subscribe. I only ask for a self-addressed-stamped envelope to make it easy for me, both financially and in the saving of time.  You would just need to email me to request my personal address.  Please find the details on the last post.

Writing this post is making me realize how incredibly time consuming blogging can be. (gentle smiles.)  Two of my grandbabies are here and they have just gone to bed. I have some tidying to do and then I will get my rest.

I hope you are well.  God bless you and your families!

Mrs. White

From the Archives:

Getting the Children’s Help – Nobody Wants to Clean a Messy House.

Poverty and Peace – Living without Credit Cards.

A Beautiful way to Live – Simplicity of Old Fashioned Homemaking.

Just in case I am able to come back:
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Letters from The Estate by Mail

Send a Letter

Vermont is beautiful this time of year.  Early this evening, after I made supper for the family, I went out on the back grounds of our Estate.  We have a rushing river which is beautiful and peaceful to see.  There is a waterfall off to the far right.  It feels like a retreat to be able to walk the grounds here and enjoy the fresh air.  Mister has done the mowing and our flowers are growing nicely.  A small garden is in place.  Our grandbabies kept me busy today and I have enjoyed doing my housework.

Soon another grandbaby will arrive.  The great-grandparents, who live with us, are slowly recovering from this year’s traumatic health difficulties.  We have been greatly blessed, despite many trials and hardships, here at our humble 1800’s Colonial house.  Thank you for allowing me to share my life with all of you.

I have been writing here on this blog for 5 years now.  I started the blog, against my personal will, because a friend unmercifully nagged me to do it.  (gentle smiles)  It has been a tremendous amount of work that turned into a ministry of sorts.  I have enjoyed writing the personal letters and essays, which have been like visits!  I am also very grateful for all of your encouragement and support over the years.

As of the end of this week, I will no longer be blogging. Most likely, this will be a temporary absence.  In the meantime, since I won’t be online for quite some time, I will be writing letters of sorts to send out by regular mail.  These will be just something plain and short, from 1 to 4 pages, depending on how much time I have.  They will be similar to the posts I have been writing here on the blog. These will be visits, essays, and encouragement for the old fashioned Christian housewife who seeks a godly home.

The first newsletter will go out sometime in June (2014).  Directions for subscribing are as follows:

Since I don’t want to publicly post my private address, I need you to send me an email. Just let me know you are interested in receiving the letters.  I will then give you my address and simply ask for a business sized, self-addressed, stamped envelope.  There is no cost to subscribe. 

Email to:
puritanlight (at) gmail (dot) com

(Note –  If you are reading this after May 31, 2014:  I will be checking emails now and then at the library. Please bear with me if it takes several weeks for me to respond. I greatly appreciate your patience.)

I also hope you will continue to read the blog. The archives are here and will remain.  My books will continue to be offered for sale on Amazon, including my newest title, “Living on His Income.”

May God bless your homes.   I will see you at the mailbox. . .

love, Mrs. White

A Sample From the Archives

You can do it! – Housekeeping with a Will.

When Mister and I got married, we took this – A Vow of Poverty.

Please be one of these – The Mother who Isn’t Busy.

I have never regretted staying home - A Humble Parlour as a School of Theology.

Special times in Marriage – When Groceries are the Presents.

Encouragement for Hard Times – A Mother of Sinners.

This sums it all up for the wife and mother at home – The Mission House.

Mrs. White’s special book for Homemakers – “Mother’s Book of Home Economics.”

In case I am able to come back:
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Nothing to Do in the World but Rock Babies


I have full charge of 2 of my grandbabies for much of the day.   We have set them up on a routine which is good for their health.  They get the “air” by going outside to play, and enjoy the sunshine.  They have their meal times and nap times. 

The other day, I had a fussy newborn and took her out on the front porch.  I snuggled her up with her Winnie the Pooh Comforter and rocked her in the chair.  It was such a pleasant day.  She drifted off to sleep.  One of the “Uncles” had the other grandbaby on the front property. The little one was toddling around having a marvelous time.  As I sat there with the children, I didn’t think about laundry or cooking. I didn’t think about the vacuuming. I thought that I had nothing better in the world to do but rock the babies!

Another day, the new baby would not be consoled unless I walked down passageways and staircases here at the old Estate.  I am sure that those in some of the rooms often thought a person was coming, but no one appeared!  Because we went up and down the stairs, over and over, and they creaked as we went. I can just imagine my daughter looking over her shoulder, towards the doorway, thinking that someone would be there any moment!  We do get amused over the littlest things around here. (gentle smiles)

Because it is so busy here, I have trouble getting supper ready. We tried to make it early in the morning to save for later. But that didn’t work.  Yesterday, I did what little tidying I could around the care of the babies, but most of the work was not done until the little ones had gone to bed.  I made supper for the next day. It was beef stroganoff. This went into a casserole pan and was placed in the refrigerator for whoever had a minute to heat it up!  I also did the dishes, cleaned the rooms and made the parlour look nice.  This is what I will have to do each evening, so I can continue to have nothing to do but rock the babies all day!

Since we are losing our Internet, I have come to appreciate the longing for a quieter life.  When I was first notified a few weeks ago, by the great-grandparents who are in charge of such things here at the Estate, I was delighted! “Well, that is fine with me! I will just stop blogging.” I was almost relieved!  Now, I love to write, and I love writing here, but I am constantly tempted to take on review jobs that are exhausting.  I honestly need a little forced break to quiet down for a season.  It was almost like the time when we lost our phone service. The company had made some mistake and the account had been compromised.  They shut off my phone and it took them weeks to set up my new service.  I didn’t mind one bit, and I was happy to wait it out.  We had no phone for about a month or so?  What a delight that was to me! (gentle smiles)  Of course, there were difficulties when I couldn’t talk to my grown children who live away from home.  I also had to retrieve an occasional message elsewhere when a need arose. But overall, I was happy without the phone.

I have come to accept these little “supposed” trials in life. They are a gift!  I am also looking forward to writing little letters and sending them out to any readers who want them.  I have already talked to many of you about this, and the response has been wonderful.  Very soon, perhaps in a day or two, I will explain how you can subscribe to my letters by regular mail. These won’t cost you anything but a stamp! 

The babies are out with their Mother but will be back very soon. I have bottles to make and a kitchen to clean.  I have been watching old BBC programs of a series of Jane Austen movies and I love them.  I will find one and set it up.  I watch them in the afternoons while feeding the newborn. She  loves them too.

Mrs. White

PS:  I will post at least once more before the end of May, when I lose Internet.  Most likely, it is only temporary. Perhaps I will be back in a few months?  Be sure to watch for information on subscribing to my letters by regular mail.

From the Archives

So nice to have! – The Common Rooms.

Getting Along – Forgotten Kindness in Marriage.

Back to Blogging After a Long Illness – Sweet Rest.

My newest book is ready!  “Living on His Income.” It is a small 64 page, paperback book.  It is designed to encourage the old fashioned housewife to live on her husband’s income.

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