My Week As A 1950's Housewife - Sunday

Monday, January 15, 2018

Oh my goodness! What. A. WEEK! Can you believe I just finished day seven of my 50's Housewife Challenge? Because I'm only partly believing it! At the end of this post I'll talk a little more in depth about my feelings after this whole experience, but let me tell you: I loved it! And I'm being completely honest with you, this has been such a fun, eye-opening week! Of course there will be some moments that will live forever in my nightmares (Ahhhh! Attack of the Aspic!), but it was truly a great experience - and I would do it all over again! But let me tell you about my last day as a 1950's housewife...

For my last day I wore a very colorful floral swing dress given to me by my momma. I paired this with the same fluffy crinoline from Wednesday and it was so much fun to swish around in it (it feels like wearing a marshmallow, did I mention that before?!). The first part of our day was spent at church.

"What!? You mean you wore that to a place of worship!?" Yes, I did! You see I've been dressing rather differently since I was in high school so I would hope my church is used to it by now, and I know that God likes it when I show my creativity through how I dress - I'm dressing up for Him! I was taught growing up that I should always dress up nice for church since it's God's House, and I still do that today (though with a bit of a different flare than when I was younger, ha!).

Besides the dress I wore a hat (to cover up the lack of victory I had with a victory roll that morning. I guess it suits that I should fail with my hair on the last day, haha!), pearls, a navy belt, and around it all a vintage fur stole. The fur is nice and warm, but I hardly needed it - all our nice winter snow melted away and it was downright warm with the temperature around 50F! My goodness, can spring be already on its way (the answer is no of course, but us Alaskans like to dream...).


I wore the nude heels I got for my wedding! I feel extra pretty whenever I wear them, that day was just so special! For you married ladies out there, do you have something special you wore for your wedding that you still wear? I have worn my wedding veil several times since then too! It was a small little hat veil like what women wore in the 50's. Actually, while we're on the subject, I should just show you...
 After all, isn't a girl supposed to show off her wedding pictures whenever she can?
Goodness gracious we look young (I just showed Quinn the photo and he said, "What do you mean? You look younger everyday!")! And look at Quinn, all nice and clean shaven. *dreamy sigh* As you can see I've liked the fashion of the 50's for quite a while!

Alright! Sorry about the interlude, back to Sunday's fashion!


As I said above, my momma got me this dress for Christmas one year. Later Christmas day Abigail got the same dress from Melissa! Being the loving sisters-in-law that we are, we've worn them together before - even appearing on TV once in them! I love the floral print, it looks stylish no matter how you feel (like when you're victory roll doesn't turn out).

We had a great morning at church. Though my family now lives down in Seattle I still have a lot of extended family here in Juneau, which makes going to church so special!


After church we did what a lot of 1950's families would have done: we went for a drive! Granted we just went to the end of North Douglas and back, but it's one of the prettiest stretches of road in town (and that's saying a lot, I do live in Alaska after all!). We didn't see any whales or anything, but Greta sure did love barking at the passing ocean (of course we brought her - she's our baby!). Now if only we had a fancy bright red convertible to drive around in!
Much like Saturday, I had very little cleaning to do. Sunday morning was busy with getting dressed and getting ready for church, so I tidied up a bit when we first got home, but the cooking was looming over me...




As it got closer and closer to the time when I needed to start dinner and dessert I get more and more stressed. Why, oh why, had I saved the scariest meal for last!? What if I failed!? What a terrible way to end my week! I sat on the couch for quite a while and pondered this before Quinn finally came to the realization that I was stalling. He then got me right up and had me go and put my apron on. There was no getting out of this one.



Sunday dinner was huge in the 50's! This was the meal that everyone dreamed about the rest of the week! This was when the family gathered around the table and ooed and awed over mom's amazing cooking. Oh dear. On Sunday's dinner menu were:

Homemade Fried Chicken
Steamed Broccoli
Mashed Potatoes
Bread Rolls 
Angel Food Cake

Does reading that list scare you? Because it sure gives me the heebie-jeebies - and I already cooked it! I had never in my life tried to fry chicken before - in general I am terrified of cooking any meat. I'm a baker! Give me yeast! I'd only ever watched people make mashed potatoes, and an angel food cake!? That's way above my level! Well. Here we go.

















I started with dessert, the angel food cake. Melissa is an expert at making beautifully soft angel food cakes. I have been lucky enough to sample several over the years that Quinn and I have been married. I went to her for advice and I'm so glad I did! She told me to crack the eggs one at a time in a bowl, and then add the white to a separate bowl so that there is no risk of getting yolk in a whole batch of whites accidentally. Good thing she told me because two eggs burst and got yolk in the bowl (which then had to be switched out for a different bowl).
Meanwhile, Greta reclined in her favorite corner by the stairs, surveying her domain. She loves eggs, and I think she was looking sweet in the hopes of getting some, silly puppy.
Beating the egg whites took forever, but the whole time I was praying that everything would turn out alright and that my last blog post wouldn't be a complete flop! When they were properly whipped - at least, I think they were - I carefully and oh-so gingerly folded in sugar and flour and the other ingredients (crossing your fingers makes it hard to hold a spoon!). Would it turn out alright in the end?
 Knowing our temperamental oven would never be able to stay the same temperature for a whole hour and fifteen minutes, Quinn and I asked if we could use Melissa's oven next door. She agreed, and we set the timer and prayed another small prayer that the cake would turn out alright. It was time to start the fried chicken!

Just kidding, I was still putting that off (even though I knew it would take a while). Let's make the mashed potatoes first!
We really should have more peelers with all the peeling we do - especially during apple season! - perhaps then there would be enough so that Quinn and I could both peel! Making mashed potatoes was absolutely the easiest thing ever, I know for a fact we'll be making them more often!
Okay, now that the potatoes were boiling there was nothing else to be done...I had to face my fears of making fried chicken. Why was I so afraid you ask? Because I've always heard that it was difficult to fry chicken! How do you get it cooked all the way through? How do you get that perfect crunchy outer layer and the juicy inside? How!? Dear Reader, I was about to figure that out (hopefully).
Omitted from this section are some rather hilarious photos of me being grossed out by chicken legs. I made it through (though I think my dignity was left somewhere along the way), and although Quinn would like me to share them here I don't think the internet is ready for that yet - my apologies.

But on with the chicken! The recipe called for a pan with a tight fitting lid, and the only pan we had big enough with a good lid was my dutch oven that I got for Christmas last year (and have used only twice...oops! Give me your favorite dutch oven recipes below!). The recipe also called for the chicken to be shaken around in a paper bag with the flour, I thought a bowl was a bit more sensible so we did that instead. After a little while the chicken started browning and I had hope that I might not burn it or undercook it after all!
Dear Reader, let me tell you I am so proud of myself. Not only did that scary fried chicken turn out alright, it tasted amazing! 
I can't tell you what a sigh of relief it was to find the chicken done and not burnt to a crisp! Of course we still haven't tasted it yet but it sure did look like fried chicken (though maybe not as pretty as the picture in the cookbook). The real test would come from Quinn's refined pallet:
My ears may have deceived me, but he said it was a 10 out of 10! He went on to say (around chewing) that it was his favorite meal we had had all week - now if that just doesn't fill my heart with joy I don't know what will! I was so thrilled, I simply can't tell you. My last meal wasn't going to be a big flop after all! The chicken turned out alright and the angel food cake...! Oh! The angel food cake.

I mean...it sure does look pretty, right? But when we had gone over to get it from the oven I was a bit crushed. The batter hadn't risen up to the top of the pan as Melissa's always did - it was short! Could I have mixed the batter too much? Not whipped the egg whites enough? Quinn told me to make it look nice anyway, for it sure did smell nice and he was sure it would be tasty even if it was a bit...condensed.

Since Melissa had graciously allowed us to use her oven (and her angel food cake pan, haha!) we took the cake over to the main house to be shared with her and Laura.


 This would be the moment of truth, did the cake actually turn out alright? It had! Oh my goodness I was so excited. Perhaps the recipe I followed made a smaller cake than what I was used to seeing but it was perfect, and tasted absolute yummy with sugared strawberries and some whipped cream. I think everyone else agreed that it tasted wonderful, and I might have even had a small second helping! YUM! 


What a perfect way to end such a fabulous week, wouldn't you agree? 

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And now for some thoughts on the week! As I said at the beginning of this post I would do this all again in a heartbeat, it has been such a fun experience! I have loved the fashion of the 1950's for a long while, so it was so interesting to delve into the lifestyle of the idealized 50's housewife. 

Beauty:
  Let me tell you right now, I am not excited to put pants on tomorrow. If I could wear dresses everyday I would, I just don't have many 'everyday' sorts of dresses as it were. But after this week I plan on wearing my 50's dresses a lot more often, and not just to church!
  Since many of you don't know me this may come as a surprise but I really don't wear makeup that often! I'll do something a little fancy for church perhaps, but throughout the week I only wear some powder and I might curl my eyelashes - really! That's my daily routine! Putting on so much makeup every morning was fun at first but I grew tired of it. As a member of a touring band, I often have to wear makeup for being on stage, and it gets tiring putting it on every night - the same happened this week. It will be nice to wear minimal makeup again.
  As for hair, oh my! For a girl who usually just braids her hair and calls it quits, curling my hair all week was a chore to say the least. The time I spent in the bathroom each morning was probably close to an hour, so I'm happy for that to go way down starting this morning (Monday). 
  I really enjoyed the beauty routine of the 1950's housewife, but I don't think I would want to do this all the time. It's nice to do it every once and awhile for special things, but I like my natural look a lot more. 

Cleaning:
  If there's any sign that I just finished living as a housewife in the 50's it's the Barn. My goodness is it clean! Every little nook and cranny is clean it feels like, haha! The first couple of days I felt like my whole day was cleaning. On Monday I can remember sitting down at one point only to realize I wasn't even half done with my list of things to clean, phew! It got easier as the week progressed: the bathroom was tidier, the dishes got done right away, the bed was made as soon as I got up. 

  I also noticed that I was a lot more in tune to how I left things if I knew that I would be cleaning them up again very soon. When I got ready in the bathroom each morning I would take care to create as little a mess as possible since I would be in again soon to clean it all up. I probably won't continue the strenuous cleaning routine that I did this week, but cleaning things more often made them so much easier to deal with! I think I'll have to write a short list of certain things to get done throughout the week, that way I don't feel overwhelmed, but to make sure that things are still getting done often and not waiting until it's so bad that I just can't take it any more (*cough* the windows, for example?). 

  Out of the three things I concentrated on this week, cleaning was by far the hardest for me. I love to keep a clean home but it took a lot of time to live up to the standards of the 50's housewife! I'll have to try to make a routine that fits better for my 2018 life!


Cooking:
  What's not to love about 50's cooking? Oh wait, that's right, aspic. Besides our foray into the crazy gelatin world of the 50's, I think all of our meals were a great success! Of course, I chose recipes in advance that Quinn and I would like - I'm sorry I'm not a big meat loaf or casserole fan! I grew up eating at church potlucks and those things always made me nervous. Quinn's favorite was by far the fried chicken we had Sunday evening, and I think mine would be the chicken pot pie we had on Monday. The best dessert though? Hands down the angel food cake! (Though now that I've written that Quinn is telling me his favorite was actually the banana splits, the dessert I had the least hand in making! Haha!)
  I think it's safe to say I don't have the pallet of someone in the 1950's, but I sure do like some of their food. I like how everything was handmade and homemade, I sure do wish to continue to cook more good food after this experience, and not just baked goods (which is where I am more comfortable in the kitchen) - I'm not sure I'm comfortable cooking meat yet, but hopefully I'll get there soon!

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Thank you so much Dear Reader for tuning in with me each morning to read about my life as a 1950's housewife. I hope I inspired you a little bit here and there, though don't worry too much - I don't expect you to start living like you're in the 50's! I just hope there were some things you can take away from this fun experience. I know I've learned a lot, and I can't wait for the next big adventure. 

Until next time friend! 
~Emily Z.



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My Week As A 1950's Housewife - Saturday

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Saturday! In a housewife's life I imagine Saturday was a very special day, for her husband was home for the whole day and it wasn't busy with church things and the big Sunday dinner. Saturday was for big breakfasts and spending time with the man of the house that had the whole weekend before him! Our Saturday was much the same, though the evening was filled with preparations for a party Quinn was throwing for his friends (his birthday is on Monday, January 15th!). This is not written about here since it was his party and I did not want to "50's-a-fi" it, haha! I hope you enjoy this look into our nice, tranquil Saturday!

I didn't set anything big aside to be cleaned Saturday and Sunday as to give myself some time off. However, the everyday things still needed to be done, and since I have yet to show you pictures of my morning housewife routine, I will now!

I would start off my day by getting up early (before my husband, but not before my corgi!), and since neither of us drink coffee there was no coffee maker to start (all of my research showed that the wife's first job in the morning was to start the coffee, isn't that interesting?). I would instead set out breakfast things - usually milk, cereal, orange juice, and perhaps some bagels. I would then set my hair in curlers, do my makeup, and get dressed. Quinn would usually be up by this time, so we would eat breakfast (down at the counter top instead of at the table), and then I would start my chores!

I would start with the upstairs: making the bed, tidying up the couch and any clutter that had been left out from the night before. I would also vacuum off the couch if there was an abundance of Greta fur on it.






















Next would be the bathroom! I may have had my hair still in curlers during the chores upstairs, so I would take this time to do my hair and then tidy the bathroom. This was not too terrible Saturday since I've been doing it every morning all week. What a nice feeling!
The kitchen was always spotless in the mornings so it didn't need any work. I would often sweep a bit and shake out the rugs, but that wasn't needed Saturday since I had done it Friday morning (and we really don't track in much dirt when there's snow outside!).

By this time it would be light outside and it was time to deep clean or start the bigger chores for the day. But not Saturday! Today it was time to make a big breakfast!

But before we get to the food, let's talk about my outfit for the day! This black polka dotted dress is one of the first vintage dresses I ever owned - gotten for me by my mother while on a trip to Seattle (where they have lovely vintage things!). Someone hand-made it a long time ago, and they certainly did a lovely job!
And the best part of the dress (or any dress really)? 
It has pockets!
As you can see, it snowed a bit more on Friday. We got around 3 or 4 inches, but Quinn graciously made a path for me to my picture taking spot (don't worry, it's really just right out our front door!). 

Saturday I wore pearls, a paint pallet brooch, and a black head scarf. I think the dress looks really lovely with the snow and the black and white colored world!
I can't paint whatsoever, but I loved this colorful brooch! 
It added a nice pop of color to the outfit I think.


 

I really like how long this dress is, and the fabric is nice and thick - perfect for a cold winters day. I have really been fond this week of wearing scarves in my hair! I have never really done it up like that before and I have really enjoyed it. Not only do they keep stray hair out of your face while you're cleaning, but they look so retro and pretty! What do you think, Dear Reader? Do you wear scarves in your hair? Have you ever tried them? 


I think I'll be wearing them a lot more, and not just with dresses, just with regular everyday outfits too! It will be a nice way to bring some retro into my everyday styles. 



And now on to breakfast! This is really my favorite meal of the day, and it's the most important too! When I worked at my local youth shelter I always stressed to the kids that breakfast was important, for they would often skip it and then complain of being hungry later. It's the base of energy for the rest of the day, so make it balanced and yummy!

Since we would be busy Saturday evening with Quinn's guests, I decided to go all out for our breakfast! On the menu were:
Belgian Waffles
Spicy Sausage Patties
Pan-Fried Potatoes
Sugared Strawberries
Orange Juice

Now that the house and I were clean and tidy, it was time to get messy! Haha! I knew the potatos and sausage would take the longest so those got prepared and set on the stove top first.

Oh dear! Did you spot that I forgot to put on my apron! What a travesty! Lets get that fixed and move on to the strawberries, and the waffle batter...





















Hurray for stiff peaks in the egg whites! 

Have you enjoyed my rather large apron collection this week? I simply don't have a favorite, they're all so lovely. The one I'm wearing in the photos above I bought at the best antique mall in Iowa, but all the others have been given to me by family and friends. I always say if there's a chance to wear an apron put one one! They simply make cleaning and cooking (and anything really!) so much more fun!

Next came the strawberries! I'm a big fan of strawberries, they're on of my favorite berry. And now a story: When I was in high school there was a boy in one of my classes who had a huge crush on me. He had asked me out multiple times but I wasn't interested. I was a very shy girl then (if you can believe it, I still am!) and I was so scared to hurt his feelings by saying no! One day I finally couldn't take it anymore and I told him I didn't want to go out with him. I'm sure you can imagine how crushed I was, for he started crying! My dad brought me strawberries to help make me feel better, and I think they helped. Since then I always get strawberries (and maybe some angle food cake too) whenever I'm not happy and feel like crying, they always help me feel better!
While the food cooked on the stove top, Quinn helped me out by setting the table (though I may have gone up later and switched some things around...sorry honey! I promise you did a good job!). It was nearly ten o'clock and we were getting hungry with the amazing smells wafting throughout the Barn. Would everything be ready soon?
As the potatoes finished browning, I poured batter into my little waffle maker and soon everything was ready! My goodness, looking at these pictures makes me want to eat it all over again, it was simply delicious!
Quinn had made a pitcher of orange juice and the color matched the tablecloth perfectly! 
I added some fun navy stripped straws to our glasses just to make it a little more fun.
Can you tell what shape our waffle maker is? It makes a ring of little hearts! I love it, and we use it quite often! Quinn got me a new Scandinavian cookbook for christmas and it has a recipe for cookies to be made inside a heart shaped waffle maker! Perhaps I'll be sharing that recipe soon (maybe around Valentine's Day? What do you think?).

It was a lovely breakfast. We listened to more of our 50's music (we now know a lot of the songs and can sing along to them! Our favorite one has to be "The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane" by The Ames Brothers. If you've never heard it, you need to! It's simply hilarious!





















While we enjoyed the music and the fantastic breakfast, we couldn't shake the feeling that someone was watching us...Hmmm. Now who do you think that would be?

Greta loves it when we make fancy breakfasts, because she gets to lick the plates afterwards (and maybe gets a little piece of sausage for all her help). She was ready and waiting for us to finish, from the very start of the meal! Haha! Silly puppy!

Well I hope you enjoyed spending a nice Saturday morning and afternoon with us! We'll see you again soon, Dear Reader!

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