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Want to find out how to plan without a planner? It is possible and very affordable. These methods are often even free and can work for anyone.

I love planners and I’ve tried several. I’m still trying to find the perfect system if that really exists. I have heard from a lot of people that traditional planners don’t work for them.

Sometimes they are too expensive or for some people, they just don’t work and they don’t end up using them. That doesn’t mean you can’t be organized and plan your day though.

I have been researching ways you can plan without an actual planner to show more options. There are actually some really great, affordable, options out there.

How to Plan Without a Planner

Planner Notepads

One of my favorite planner companies Living Well Shop has some really cute notepads that work perfectly for planning your day and week.

If you need just a really simple way to plan these are a great option. They can also work well in a planner if you do have one but you just need something more.

I got the Weekly Wizard and Daily Focus Sheets to try out. They are really cute and good quilaty. The price is also really great. There is also a Daily To-Do Sheet that is a good option.

They are also sticky notes so you can put them anywhere so you don’t miss place them. That’s the often the hard thing with using notepads instead of a planner, making sure you know where your list is.

Sale Alert: Living Well Shop is having their semi-annual sale so now is a great time to try out these notepads. Click here to shop the sale.

Notebook

A simple notebook can be perfect for keeping you organized. You can just write your lists in it or even get a bit more fancy and create a bullet journal.

Most of us have notebook laying around the house so this can be a simple and free option to try out. If you are wanting something a bit nicer the Leuchtturm journals are popular with bullet journalers and are very high quality. 

Google Calendar 

Another free option is Google Calendar. I use this a lot in my business and love being able to move things around and share events with others.

You can also access it on your phone and have family calendars which are really nice. A similar option if you have an iPhone is to use the iCal option. 

My husband and I use iCal for our family calendar so we can easily share things with each other. It’s really nice to be able to look at my phone and know what his schedule is.

You likely will need to try a few systems before finding the perfect one for you. If something isn’t working don’t force it, move on and try another system.

The great thing about all of these is they are really affordable. You won’t be buying a $50+ planner to just have it sit around gathering dust.

More Planning Resources

The post How to Plan Without a Planner appeared first on Retro Housewife Goes Green.

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Self-care in the 1950s may not be something we think about often but it was happening. Some of the methods were very effective and should make a comeback. Coupons.com also believes self-care is important and they are sponsoring this post.

We watch shows from the 1950s or see the images from advertisements and you’d like the 1950s were blissful. You may have even ended up on my blog because you long for the simpler times of the 1950s.

I long for some of that myself but it was far from the perfect era. There were many issues plaguing the 1950s and people suffered from depression then as well. It was usually labeled as anxiety which was a blanket term used for all kinds of mental health problems.

It was important that 1950s housewives practiced self-care and it’s still important. A perfect housewife doesn’t exist and we all need to take care of ourselves. 

The ways people practiced self-care in the 1950s was somewhat different than what we do now. Many of the things they did are great ideas for things to bring back now.

Self-Care in the 1950s

Getting Your Hair Done

We may not have the high-maintenance hairstyles that require weekly hair salon trips anymore but it can still be a fun way to take care of ourselves from time to time.

This form of self-care does seem to be making a comeback with blow-dry bars popping up everywhere. Some of them even offer memberships.

You could also go get your hair done for a special event or date night. It’s always nice to do something that makes you feel more beautiful.

Take a Sunday Drive

Leisurely drives were once a popular way to spend a day relaxing. Parkways and scenic roads started because of this enjoyable activity. 

Rising gas prices and increased traffic and largely stopped this practice and for the environment’s sake we don’t want to drive too much but the occasional leisurely drive can still be a nice way to relax.

Develop a Skin Care Routine

Women in the 1950s had pretty major beauty routines and skin care was no different. Having a good routine will not only help your skin and hopefully slow signs of aging but it can also be relaxing.

If you do your skin care routine right before bed each night it can also help tell your body and mind that it’s time to wind down. Don’t just rush through it and just use a makeup removing wipe. 

Find a few products that are good for your skin type and develop a routine you can stick with and that works for you. Some nights you may have to pull out the makeup removing wipes but try and do a more relaxing routine most nights.

Find a Creative Hobby

Many nights were spent knitting, crocheting, and other crafts in the 1950s. People weren’t glued to electronics so they made more time for creative hobbies.

We are seeing a comeback in these hobbies and that’s a good thing. Turn on some music or even your favorite tv show and work on some craft that you enjoy or learn a new one.

Have a Friend Over

Dinner parties, having a neighbor over for a cup of tea, or playing cards with friends seem to be less and less common these days. It can be a great way to unwind.

If you are a full-time homemaker it can get very lonely. Invite a friend or even a neighbor over sometime for just a simple cup of tea and a chat. It’s a great way to boost your mood.

You could also throw a little dinner party or invite some friends over for a game of cards. My husband and I have a couple that we enjoy hanging out with and we often will play spades together. We joke that we are old but it’s a really nice relaxing time.

If these tips seem like too much right now or you need more ideas, be sure to check out 10 Simple Ways to Be Happier. They are all very easy tips you can do now to practice a little self-care.

Remember next time you are wishing you could be like the TV perfect 1950s housewife, they were stressed as well and still needed to take care of themselves. You are important and need to take time out for you.

More Self-Care Resources

The post Self-Care in the 1950s- What We Need to Bring Back appeared first on Retro Housewife Goes Green.

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Have a full-time or even part-time job and struggling with finding time for homemaking? It is possible to find balance and take care of your home and job.

It’s becoming less common to find full-time homemakers. It’s becoming more common every year for both people in a couple to work outside of the home and even when one does stay home many work from home.

This can make it harder to find time for all of the homemaking tasks. As someone that runs a business full-time, this has been a struggle for me.

It was easy to keep the house clean when that was my full-time job, there also was less social media to distract us at that time so that also helped.

While I still find myself overwhelmed and behind in areas from time to time, I have found things that help me schedule my time better.

These tips will help no matter if you work from home, have a full-time job, part-time job, or even just have a lot of volunteer work that takes you out of the home.

Finding Time for Homemaking

Find Your Priorities

The key with all time management is knowing your priorities. If you know your priorities it’s easier to trim the rest. Take some time to think about your top priorities. Try to keep this to 3-5 things.

Be sure to talk to your partner as well. Know what their priorities and make sure that you both agree in this area. You may have different priorities but they need to work together.

Let Go and Say No

Look at your calendar, what is on there that doesn’t fit with your current priorities? There are likely a lot of things. You should likely let go of all of these things if you are struggling with time for priorities. 

You may be able to bring them back later but for now, it may not be right for you. You may hurt some feelings but just explain that you need to focus on another area of your life right now. We need to understand that others have different priorities than us and that’s okay.

When new things come up, think if they really fit with your priorities if they don’t politely say no. You can let them know that you may be able to at a later time but it’s not something you can do right now.

Additional Resource: Creating a Stop Doing List

Create a Schedule

Having a schedule will help you manage the time you have better. For me scheduling my deep cleaning on Sunday has been a huge help. I get it all out of the way and start the week off with a clean house. 

This means that my homemaking time during the week can be used for other tasks. And if this time gets taken up by something else it’s not as big of a deal because at least the house is clean.

You may need to try different schedules before finding one that works for you but you just need to make sure homemaking tasks have a place in your schedule or you won’t make time.

Additional Resource: Creating a Cleaning Schedule That Works for You

Ask for Help

You are likely not the only one using your space, the others living there need to help as well. Be sure you are dividing chores fairly and that you aren’t trying to do it all.

Sometimes you may even need more help. If you can afford it and it’s a busy time consider hiring someone to help with some chores. You can use a grocery delivery service, a maid, lawn care service, whatever it is that you need help with. Often you may just need this help temporarily to get back on track. Don’t feel bad asking for help.

Additional Resource: When You Don’t Have Time for Homemaking

Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself

If you are feeling burned out you likely have been neglecting self-care. This will lead to burnout and can even cause depression. Not only is this bad for your mental and even physical health, but it also makes you less productive.

Making self-care a priority will help all areas of your life in the long run. It’s time well spent. Sometimes you may have more time for self-care than others but just make sure it’s happening.

If you start to feel overwhelmed or burned outlook for another way to take care of yourself. Maybe it’s taking a few hours to just do something you love, or getting a massage, or booking an appointment with a therapist. Whatever you need, find time for it. You will only end up losing more time if you put this off.

You may also find that at some stage you need to cut back on work. If you can find a way to afford this and it’s what you feel is best for you and your family don’t be afraid to do this.

It’s important to make sure what you are doing is working and what’s best for you and your family at the time. This changes at different stages of life so always stay aware of your priorities and needs.

More Homemaking Resources


The post Finding Time for Homemaking With a Full-Time Job appeared first on Retro Housewife Goes Green.

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Need help being a better homemaker? Check out these homemaking tips to help you keep your home clean, orderly, and a happy comfortable place.

As a homemaker, I have a lot of jobs, cleaning, cooking, budgeting, organizing and so much more. It can be overwhelming but there are a lot of things you can do to help.

To make this easier I’ve put together this list of some of my top homemaking posts. It will help you get started and make your home a better and happier place.

Homemaking Tips Getting Started Cleaning Tips Home Organization Perfect Routines Cooking Budgeting Want to learn more about homemaking?

Sign up for my newsletter. I send 1-2 emails a week with tips and tricks that can help you with your home. I also let you know what is new on the blog so you will never miss a post. 

You will also get access to my free resource library which includes a free meal planning guide, once a month grocery shopping guide, and lots of great free printables.

Simply fill out the form below to get signed up and start getting great tips delivered to your inbox.

The post The Ultimate Homemaking Guide appeared first on Retro Housewife Goes Green.

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These homemade lemonade recipes are sure to be your new favorite refreshing drinks. Everything from old-fashion lemonade to unique papaya lemonade.

When I was a kid, my brother and I had many lemonade stands with the neighbor kids. One year we were out there basically every day. We made a lot of money, especially since my mom bought our supplies, it’s nice to have all profit and no expenses. 

We made Koolaid lemonade, sometimes pink lemonade if we were feeling crazy. Honestly, I still like that cheap and filled with questionable ingredient stuff. Likely because of the memories of our lemonade stands.

What’s even better is homemade lemonade when you aren’t making huge batches to sell to the neighbors for 50 cents a glass.

There are so many great ways varieties of lemonade out there. At least where I live we have a lot of hot weather and a lot of time to try out different homemade lemonade recipes.

Fresh lemons are best but organic lemon juice. I really like the Santa Cruz organic lemon juice. It makes homemade lemonade easy and I like having it on hand for when I have a craving for lemonade.

One of the best places to get it is Thrive Market. The price is great and I love the mission. They help feed hungry people all while providing you and your family healthy food.

If you haven’t tried Thrive Market yet you can get a free 30-day trial and an extra 25% off. You can get some really great deals and stock up your pantry from your sofa. 

Homemade Lemonade Recipes

Pineapple Meyer Lemonade
Photo Credit: www.findingzest.com
Blueberry Lemonade Recipe
Photo Credit: artscrackers.com
Probiotic Lemonade Soda
Photo Credit: nourishedkitchen.com
Natural Sugar-free Lemonade
Photo Credit: wholenewmom.com
Honey Lemonade
Photo Credit: julieblanner.com
Frozen Strawberry Lemonade
Old Fashioned Lemonade 
Photo Credit: www.fabfood4all.co.uk
Fresh Raspberry Lemonade
Photo Credit: www.beyondthechickencoop.com
Easy Watermelon Lemonade (Refined Sugar-Free)
Photo Credit: stephaniesain.com
Strawberry Lemonade Recipe
Photo Credit: www.currytrail.in
Limonana – Israeli Mint Lemonade
Photo Credit: www.masalaherb.com
Pineapple Lemonade 
Photo Credit: www.missinthekitchen.com
Finnish Fermented Lemonade
Photo Credit: adamantkitchen.com
Refreshing Beet Lemonade
Photo Credit: www.snackinginsneakers.com
Lavender Lemonade
Photo Credit: champagne-tastes.com
Raspberry Green Tea Lemonade
Photo Credit: www.yayforfood.com
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Make your life a bit less crazy with these tips for that help you organize your life. They will help bring a bit of order to the chaos and help you manage it all.

Most mornings I post a cute vintage illustration on the Retro Housewife Goes Green Facebook page and ask what everyone has on their to-do lists.

You can often feel the stress through the comments. We all seem to have a lot going on and are struggling to keep up. I totally get that feeling.

When you are a homemaker you are juggling so many responsibilities and they can change from day-to-day. Managing it all can be overwhelming and often homemakers have jobs outside of the home as well adding to the workload.

Two things to remember first, be sure you are dividing chores and make sure you are saying no to things that you don’t have time for and aren’t a priority.

Even after doing those things you likely still have a lot on your plate and that’s where being organized comes in. I have thought about what has made the biggest difference in my life and thought I would share those things with you.

Ways to Organize Your Life Use a Planner

There are so many different planners out there. You can find them for in all price ranges and in so many styles. The biggest thing is finding one that works for you.

You may have to try a few to find out. I still haven’t found my perfect system so I keep trying new things each year. You will know it’s working when you actually use it. If you buy one and stop using it, it’s likely not the right one for you.

Additional Resource: The Best Planners for Homemakers

Home Management Binder

This is very different than a planner though you can sometimes combine them. This is where you keep important information like emergency contacts, medical information, addresses and anything else you want to be able to easily reference.

I have mine set up in a simple three-ring binder and used free printables. I don’t look at it a lot but it’s nice when I need it. 

Additional Resource: How to Create a Home Management Binder

Start Meal Planning

This is huge for me. I hate scrambling to figure out what to cook at night and I also don’t want to run to the store all of the time for extra ingredients.

Having a meal plan makes it all so much easier. I can make sure when I get groceries that I have everything I need and I can make sure I’m actually using the ingredients I have on hand. Plus I don’t have to think about dinner I just have to make it.

Be sure to also be realistic when meal planning. It’s easy to look at Pinterest and think, “I should make all of these amazing meals.” If you are busy you will likely find that actually making those meals is too time-consuming and you end up ordering out or turning to processed foods.

Look at your calendar when meal planning and make sure your plan fits what you have going on. It’s okay to make a lot of simple meals. 

Additional Resource: Meal Planning That Saves You Time and Money

Keep Decluttering

Make decluttering a habit instead of something that is hugely time-consuming after it gets out of hand. Find time each week when you will take a quick trip through your house and get rid of things you no longer want or need.

And if you come across something randomly, don’t think “I’ll take care of that later”, put it in your car or where you put donations until you deliver them.

Additional Resource: Tips That Make Decluttering Easier

Create Routines

The routines I like to have include morning, evening and cleaning. If I have basic routines for those things everything else runs smoothly. 

You may need other routines if you are busy, work outside of the home, or have kids. It just depends on what stage of life you are in and what responsibilities you have.

This is another place that may have some trial and error involved. Take some time to figure out what routines work for you and your family and then stick to them as much as possible.

Additional Resource: Creating a Homemaking Schedule That Works for You

When you find yourself feeling overwhelmed be sure to think about these tips and look for other resources to help you. There is no reason to stay in that overwhelmed mode.

And be sure to join the free Homemaking for Everyone community to get advice from other homemakers. Sometimes it’s just nice to know you aren’t alone.

More Helpful Resources

The post 6 Ways to Organize Your Life appeared first on Retro Housewife Goes Green.

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Feeling overwhelmed at the thoughts of homemaking? These tips will help you stop feeling like you are failing at being a housewife and homemaker.

Homemaking no matter if you are a full-time homemaker or not can be overwhelming. There are so many things to deal with and never-ending chores.

Every housewife and homemaker has days where they feel like they are failing. I have those days myself. I used to have them even more but I’ve found a lot of things to help reduce those days.

A few years ago I found myself always overwhelmed and feeling like I was failing. Ironically I spend more hours working now yet I feel like I have things more together. Not always but more often than not.

It took me getting really tired of being behind to really force myself to find ways to stay on track. Since the most common thing I hear from you guys is that you are overwhelmed I thought it would be good to share what I found to be helpful.

How to Stop Feeling Like You Are Failing at Being a Housewife

Say No More Often

This one was hard but as I’ve done it more it’s kind of liberating. As a stay-at-home homemaker, I was always getting asked to do things.

People just seem to assume if you work from home or are a full-time homemaker, or in my case both, that you have all the free time so you can do all the projects.

While being at home does give you more flexibility that doesn’t mean you can or should try to do everything. Trying to do it all will burn you out.

I had to think about my top priorities right now and anything that didn’t fit in those had to go. That doesn’t mean I will never go back to those things but right now they don’t fit in my life.

My time is precious so I treat it as such and try not to feel guilty when I say no to going to an event or doing a project for someone. I’m sure some people aren’t happy with me but I’m a lot less stressed and have more time for the things that are important to me.

Additional Resource: Creating a Stop Doing List

Create a Schedule

I’m not the type of person that likes a very structured day but even I have had to create a schedule for myself. I don’t plan every hour of the day but I have days I do different tasks and generally, I have set work and cleaning time.

How structured you need to be will depend on your personality. Some people thrive with very structured days and some don’t. If you don’t know which you are, try a few different types of scheduling.

Once you find something that works, stick with it until it’s no longer working and then you can adjust. At different times in your life, you will likely need different schedules.

Additional Resource: Creating a Homemaking Schedule That Works for You

Get Help From Others

If you share your home with others they should be sharing in its upkeep. If you are a full-time homemaker maybe a lot of it will fall on you but even then it shouldn’t all.

Figure out what works best for you and the people in your home and make sure everyone sticks to it. This also may need to be adjusted over time, especially if you have kids.

Additional Resource: How to Divide the Household Chores List

Take Shortcuts When Needed

This was a big one for me to learn. I was making all of our cleaners, making all food from scratch, and doing all of those “good housewife” things.

That worked at one point when I didn’t have a business to run as well. Now I spend a lot of time on my blogs and creating content. I love it but it does mean I don’t have the same free time I once had.

Now I rarely make bread and I buy more packaged food. Our dinners are still usually from scratch but for example the buns for burgers this week were not homemade and neither was the BBQ sauce. At one point in time, they would have been.

I also don’t always make my own cleaners. I still love them and they save so much money but right now I can afford the cleaners and the time is more valuable to me.

I have fallen in love with Grove Collaborative because the prices are really good on natural cleaners and I didn’t have to add another thing to my shopping lists. You can even set items up on subscriptions so you don’t have to think about it at all.

Don’t feel guilty if you need to stop doing something you once did and need a shortcut now and again. If you can afford it and it works for your family, do it!

It’s okay if you feel like you’ve been failing lately. It’s likely just a sign you need to follow some of the steps above. It happens to all of us and there is a way out of it.

If you feel like you need a little more help in this area be sure to check out Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. I feel like it really helped kickstart my journey to a less overwhelmed life.

The post How to Stop Feeling Like You Are Failing at Being a Housewife appeared first on Retro Housewife Goes Green.

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There are some basic cooking skills all adults need to learn. They can help you make all kinds of delicious foods and avoid always needing to eat out.

I started baking with my grandma as a toddler and I don’t know when I started helping my mom cook because I really don’t remember a time before helping.

I remember at a very young age cooking and baking on my own as well. My mom always kept ingredients around for baking things like chocolate chip cookies and other basic baking recipes and I took advantage of this often.

I enjoyed baking plus I love sweets and we didn’t have a lot of sweets in the house. I believe my mom figured I should at least be doing an activity if I was eating sweets. It also limited you some because you aren’t going to do it all of the time. Especially since I also had to clean up after myself, that’s the part I still hate.

I even remember occasionally cooking full, simple, meals for the whole family at a pretty young age. I enjoyed it and I felt like I was helping out.

This encouragement to help with baking and cooking gave me skills that I use daily as an adult. I see many people my age and younger that didn’t have this experience and struggle to cook on their own now. 

I feel like this is one small contributing factor to increasing obesity. More and more we are relying on fast food, takeout, and highly processed foods.

It’s never too late to learn to cook and knowing some basic cooking skills can take you really far. It’s also important if you have kids to consider helping them learn these skills

I know when kids “help” it can often mean more messes and that it actually takes longer but when there is the time it can be so valuable. I really credit the fact that I spent so much time baking with my grandma for why I still love baking.

These are some of the basic cooking skills all adults need to know. With these skills, you can cook many delicious meals and continue learning more as you go.

Basic Cooking Skills

Cook al dente pasta.

Pasta is very easy to make and needed for many recipes. Most people overcook pasta so learning how to properly cook it can greatly improve your cooking skills and dishes.

Always bring the water to a boil before adding the pasta. You should also salt your water, a general rule to follow is one tablespoon per pound of pasta. It sounds like a lot but most of it will not be on the pasta when you are done.

How long you will cook the pasta varies, often the package will give you a good idea. I’d test it early as you are learning the timing because you can add more time, you can’t take it away. 

To know if it’s done, taste a piece, I usually run it under cold water for a second to cool it off. Al dente means it should still be firm but not crunchy. It is Italian for “to the tooth.” If it’s still crunchy cook it for 30-second intervals until it’s done.

How to make a few basic sauces.

Knowing how to make a few basic sauces can change your whole cooking game. Once you know the basics you can create all kinds of varies of dishes.

The sauces you want to know are often called the five mother sauces. This is because they are the start of almost all other sauces and they are their own head of a family of sauces.

The five sauces are bechamel, veloute sauce, hollandaise, Espagnole sauce, and classic tomato sauce. I feel like you should at the very least know how to make a bechamel and a tomato sauce. 

Additional Resource: Five Mother Sauces of Classical Cuisine

How to roast a chicken.

These days I make more of my whole chickens in the Instant Pot but knowing how to roast a chicken is a useful skill. A roast chicken can be used for so many meals and is great if you want to get into meal prep.

You can get fancy when it comes to roasting a chicken but the main thing is to learn how to do a very basic roast chicken. These same skills can be used for roasting other birds as well.

Additional Resource: Brined and Roasted Chicken

Basic knife skills.

Learning basic knife skills will not only help you be a better cook but also helps keep you safe. I cringe so often when I see people cutting things because they are coming so close to cutting themselves.

New York Times Cooking has a great guide to basic knife skills. Even if you think you know what you are doing it’s not a bad idea to review. Good knives and knife skills make a huge difference in the kitchen.

You can even start teaching kids knife skills to keep them safer in the kitchen and get them involved more with cooking. If you need some help teaching your kids these skills check out Free Knife Skills Class for Kids. It can help you get started.

How to cook an egg.

Eggs can be a good quick breakfast or easy source of protein. Knowing how to at least soft boil, hard boil, scramble, fry, and cook an egg over easy can be very helpful for any home cook.

Also knowing how to properly crack an egg and separate an egg is useful. These are just skills that can take a bit of practice but are very simple.

Additional Resource: 8 Essential Methods for Cooking Eggs

How to bake a potato.

You can microwave potatoes but the texture and taste just aren’t the same. They are simple to make in the oven and it’s something everyone should know how to do.

First, wash your potatoes well. I recommend using a coir brush to make sure you get all the dirt off. Pat them dry and rub with olive oil and salt.

This next step is very important, poke holes in your potatoes with a fork. I usually just poke the fork in about four times along the top. Some people will say they never do this and have never had a potato explode but trust me it’s worth a couple of seconds. If you do have one explode, and I have, it’s a pain to clean up!

For how long it depends on the size. I generally do 425 degrees for about 45 minutes. Just poke the potato with a fork to ensure it’s soft inside.

I like to allow for some extra cook time if the potatoes are being served with other food because they always seem to take longer than you think they will.

How to make gravy.

Gravy can help a lot of dishes taste better. If you overcooked a chicken or turkey gravy will cover that up, it’s great with some warm biscuits, or with some potatoes.

Gravy is also very simple to make and so much better when homemade and not from a package. My mom posted her turkey gravy recipe and it’s a basic gravy recipe. You can just use stock instead of drippings if you aren’t making a chicken or turkey at the time.

A basic white gravy is also a good thing to know how to make if you love biscuits and gravy or prefer white gravy over your mashed potatoes. Eating on a Dime has a great white gravy recipe that you can make in 10 minutes. Add in a bit of cooked sausage and pour over biscuits and you have the perfect southern breakfast.

How to cook rice.

I usually use the rice setting on my Instant Pot for rice but it’s still a good idea to know how to make it on the stove. A friend once told me she and her dad were going to make rice and thought the water measurements given on the package were like pasta and filled the pot. 

They soon figured out their mistake. Unlike pasta you want the rice to absorb the water you use and there shouldn’t be any left once the rice is done.

Poorly cooked rice is never any fun and it can be a little tricky as you get the hang of it. But once you can perfectly cook rice you have a simple and affordable grain you can add to all kinds of meals.

Additional Resource: How to Cook Rice Perfectly Every Time

How to knead dough.

Even if you never plan to make a homemade loaf of bread it’s good to know how to knead dough for many recipes. I remember learning this skill when my mom would make homemade bread. I enjoyed this task and still don’t mind it.

The basic idea is you are folding the dough over and over again. It helps make the finished product airy and light. It’s also a nice little arm workout.

Additional Resource: How to Knead Dough

How to roast vegetables. 

I mostly steam my vegetables and I know a lot of people just pop them in the microwave but some vegetables really taste best when roasted and it’s a good skill to have.

Things like broccoli, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, squash, carrots, etc… are all great roasted and it’s very simple. You just want them to be pretty similar sized pieces, drizzle with some olive oil and season and that’s about it for some delicious vegetables. 

Additional Resource: Oven Roasted Vegetables

How to season to taste.

Poorly seasoned food is the biggest mistake I see home cooks make. You may naturally be able to taste a dish and know what to add and be able to season easily but for most, you need to practice.

To start with you will likely want to follow recipes and season based on the recipe. Be sure to taste the food a lot as you add things to see how it changes the flavor.

Eating different foods at restaurants can also help you learn this skill. The biggest thing is to start tasting as you cook. And don’t be afraid to use new seasonings or taste a little bit on your finger to see if you think it will work well with your dish.

Once you master this skill recreating dishes becomes easier and you will have much better-tasting food. 

How to make chocolate chip cookies.

Chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter cookies were the first things I learned to bake. Chocolate chip cookies are a good simple recipe that most people enjoy so it’s useful to know how to make them.

They don’t need fancy equipment or difficult techniques so it will help you get started baking and learning. Chocolate chip cookies are also a great thing to make for guests or take to parties. And if you have mastered a recipe you can have people raving about your cookies.

Start with a simple chocolate chip cookie recipe and get really good at those before experimenting or trying different recipes. Over time you can start mixing in different things like chocolate candies or different flavors of baking chips.

This may seem overwhelming but just pick one thing at a time and keep learning. Once you have these skills you will be able to cook all kinds of things.

Knowing how to cook properly makes it much easier to avoid eating out and limit highly processed foods. It really makes eating healthier in general easier.

Another great way to practice is by signing up for a meal subscription box like Blue Apron. They do some of the work for you and give very detail instructions so you can practice cooking and start feeling more confident in the kitchen.

And parents, consider spending more time teaching your kids to cook. Kids that cook tend to eat better and it will make it easier for them as an adult to cook at home and continue healthier habits. 

Meal planning is also helpful when cooking so be sure to sign up below to get my free meal planning ebook to help you get started.

The post 12 Basic Cooking Skills Every Adult Needs to Know appeared first on Retro Housewife Goes Green.

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Older homes come with so much charm but they can come with a lot of challenges as well. It’s important to know what you are getting into before buying an older home.

I love vintage homes, especially ones from the 1930s-early 1960s. I spent part of my childhood in a home built in the 1940s and it was a beautiful home. And a few years ago my husband and I bought a home built in 1963.

There are added challenges with older homes though. If you are considering buying one you need to do a lot of research and be prepared for these challenges.

After doing a lot of research myself we decided to not look at homes built pre-1955. That helped reduce some of the risks I’m going to talk about. Depending on your knowledge level, stage of life, and how much work you are willing to do you may be willing to look at older homes or you may want to stick to even newer homes.

These challenges are some of the things you should consider when deciding if you want to buy an older home. Don’t let this blog post be your last research, this is just a good starting point.

Things You Need to Know Before Buying an Older Home

1. You need inspection or maybe two.

You always want to get an inspection before buying a home, it’s often required to get a mortgage. However, with an older home, this can be even more important.

When we were considering buying the home we currently own I did research and created a checklist to do my own mini-inspection. Things like checking under every sink looking for signs of past leaks, checking the windows and looking for water damage, seeing if doors stick, etc… It was a long list and a list that stopped us from considering another home we looked at before the one we ended up buying.

I also had my dad inspect the home, he even looked in the attic. He has worked on a lot of houses and is very handy so he knew a lot of things to look for.

Even with all of this we still had an official inspection done by a recommended inspector. I also went to the house to watch the inspection and beforehand researched what an inspector should be looking at to make sure everything was being covered.

This may seem like a lot but being very careful with inspections can save you a lot of money in the future. Some people even choose to pay for two inspections. 

If your inspection turns up anything questionable you may want to have another expert check it out to find out how much a fix would likely cost. That way you know what you are in for if the seller doesn’t want to fix it before you buy.

2. It’s important to find out how long the home has been empty.

The longer a house sits empty the more likely you will find problems. Leaks can go unnoticed and can cause mold issues, pest and rodents can be more of an issue and a host of other issues.

This may not be enough to not buy the house but you will know to inspect the house even closer if it’s been empty for an extended period of time.

3. There is a good chance there is lead.

One big reason we choose not to look at homes that were built before 1955 is because of the lead risks. Lead paint wasn’t banned in homes until 1978. And even homes newer than that may have lead because people could have still had lead paint around that they used.

The reason we felt okay with looking at homes built after 1955 is that the industry adopted a voluntary standard limiting lead in paint. There was a big decrease in lead paint in homes after that point. Homes built before 1940 have an 87% chance of containing lead, 1940-1959 is a 69% chance and 1960-1977 drops to 24%.

We also don’t have children and I did look for signs of lead paint. There was no chipping paint, the windows are aluminum and not painted, the doors had not been painted until recently, and the whole house had been textured and painted recently. 

I have a whole post on lead and buying older homes that will give you more info on the risks and how to be safe if you do choose to buy an older home. Read Protecting Your Family from Lead for more information.

Be aware it’s not just the paint that is an issue, tile, pipes and more can contain lead. This is an even bigger issue if you plan to remodel because that puts more lead dust into your environment and is the bigger risk for lead poisoning. 

4. There can be asbestos. 

Asbestos is very flame retardant, which is part of why it was commonly used in older homes. The only problem is when airborne the fibers can be inhaled and can lead to cancer.

Asbestos was banned in 1989 and many homes had it removed but not all. Good home inspectors can point out what looks like asbestos but you will need to have it tested to know for sure.

Another place you may find asbestos in older homes is in flooring. If it’s in good shape and you don’t plan to take it up it doesn’t pose a risk but it’s something to keep in mind if you are wanting to remodel.

Additional Resource: Asbestos Floor Tiles 101

5. Insurance costs may be higher.

If the electrical or plumbing systems haven’t been updated it may make homeowners insurance more expensive and some policies won’t cover damage caused by these old systems.

Consider getting quotes before you get too far into the process to make sure you are willing to pay that much or if you may want to do updates to the home to get the costs down.

6. You may have increased energy costs.

Most older homes are lacking in insulation and have leaky windows and doors. This can mean increased heating and cooling costs. 

Many updates are low costs like adding weather stripping to windows and doors, even adding insulating isn’t a huge expense. If you really want to increase efficiency new double pane windows make a big difference but that is a large expense.

If you do buy an older home consider getting an energy audit to find out the best things you can do to make the home more energy efficient. Energy companies will sometimes do them for free.

7. You may need a water filtration system.

Older homes likely still have old plumbing systems and they can contain lead and other contaminants. And if the home has a well there can be other issues.

Many issues can be fixed with a good filtration system though you may also consider having the water tested to see what contaminants are in the water so you know the best way to deal with it.

8. Pests may be a big problem.

Older homes aren’t sealed as well as new homes and have had longer for pests to move in. This issue is even more likely if the home has sat empty for an extended period of time.

You want to be sure to get a pest inspection when considering an older home. This is not something covered in your home inspection but can be equally important.

Some pests do minimal to no damage and are easy to deal with but others like termites can do extensive damage that can cost you a lot of money in repairs. It’s good to know what you are getting into ahead of time.

9. You may need to update the electrical system.

Older homes didn’t need to power nearly as much as they do now and sometimes the old electrical system just can’t keep up with everything.

This is something you want to be sure the inspector is looking at. Sometimes it’s a safety issue but others it’s just an issue of how much you can run at once. For our home, we can’t run too many things that are on the same breaker at once. It took some time to figure out what that meant but now it’s not a big deal.

You also may need to fix outlets that are ungrounded and only two-pronged. Many things now need grounded outlets so this could be an issue when you go to plug in your TV or computer.

It’s pretty easy to fix ungrounded outlets so this is not likely a reason to not buy a home but it is something to take into consideration. 

10. Look for hidden problems.

When looking at homes look closely. Sometimes your first walk through everything looks great but you may find more when you look closer.

We were seriously considering one house and really loved it our first time looking. We decided to go back for a second look and this time I brought my inspection list.

We found somethings inspectors would have found like signs of a hot water tank leak, a window that clearly had leaked, and things like that. We also found some cosmetic issues that an inspection wouldn’t catch.

Another house we looked at we noticed a lot of issues because the couple clearly was into DIY but wasn’t very good at it yet. The tile in the kitchen wasn’t straight and they hadn’t used spacers for the grout so it was different widths, and other details like that. The house was nice and the price was pretty good but we decided we didn’t want to spend the time or money fixing all of their DIY mistakes.

I’ve also heard of people finding wallpaper under the paint. And I’ve seen paint peeling off of trim and doors because they didn’t sand and prime before painting. So you have to look very closely.

None of this means you should only buy new homes but they are all things to keep in mind. The best way to not end up with extra expenses or even regretting your purchase is to be aware of these things.

I also recommend always hiring a real estate agent. I can not tell you how much I appreciated ours when we were house hunting. She helped us make sure we didn’t miss any steps and helped guide us through the whole process. Other than the home inspection I’d say that is the most important thing you can do when buying any home.

More House Buying Resources

The post 10 Things You Need to Know Before Buying an Older Home appeared first on Retro Housewife Goes Green.

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Cooking is the last thing you want to do on a hot summer day. The 1950s housewives felt the same way and created this 1950’s summer meal plan.

Reading vintage magazine will quickly show you that homemakers in the ’50s had similar challenges to the ones we face now. It’s so interesting how we think things have changed so much but there are still a lot of things that haven’t really changed.

One thing that hasn’t changed is homemakers didn’t like cooking when it was hot in the 1950s either! In the June 1953 issue of Ladies’ Home Journal, there was an article titled Easy Does It. 

It was all about meal planning in the summer to allow for less cooking and avoiding heating up the kitchen on hot days. The author is from Louisiana and says no one cooks more than they have to on those hot summer days.

She talks about how she sticks to simple meals that can be made ahead or in a short time. She also talks about using a pressure cooker and ovenette.

I had to look up what an ovenette is. Turns out it’s a small metal cover you put over a burner to create an oven. That’s at least what I can gather from the photos and articles I have found. 

What I suggest now for summer cooking is an Instant Pot, which is safer than the older pressure cookers, and a toaster oven or convection oven, which uses less energy and will heat up your kitchen less.

The article gave some summer meal suggestions and it’s always fun to look at what people ate in the past so I thought I’d share the meal ideas. They may even inspire some modern summer meal ideas for you.

1950’s Summer Meal Plan

Monday

  • Beef Stew (made in a pressure cooker)
  • Celery Hearts
  • Olives
  • Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream 
  • Iced Tea

Tuesday

  • Cold Sliced Ham
  • Surprise Deviled Eggs
  • Pickled-Relish Molds
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Sweet Cherries with Stems on
  • Dipping Sugar

Wednesday

  • Frankfurter Loaf
  • Green Salad with Sour Cream Roquefort Dressing
  • Fruit Gelatin with Pecans

Thursday

  • Creole Macaroni and Beef
  • Fresh Peas
  • Raw Carrot Sticks
  • Butterscotch-Pecan Refrigerator Cakes

Friday

  • Easy Overnight Baked Beans
  • Brown Bread
  • Green Salad – Hot Bacon Dressing
  • Chilled Watermelon Wedges

She suggests leftovers for other nights. Including turning the sauce from the Frankfurter loaf into a Spanish omelet.

The idea of foods that can be made with minimal cooking and that are generally easy for hot summer days is a tip that continues to be true today.

Today, for example, I cooked up chicken for multiple meals in my Instant Pot. Now I will have less cooking to do during hotter parts of the days and the Instant Pot took minimal time to cook the chicken and didn’t heat up my kitchen.

If you are looking for more ideas for simple meal plans for the summer check out Creating a Simple Menu Plan for Summer on Life With Dee. She has ideas that are more modern but follow the same concept of simple meals will minimal cooking.  

More Vintage Cooking Resources

The post 1950’s Summer Meal Plan appeared first on Retro Housewife Goes Green.

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