A Chore for Every Day
Today's Featured Section: Hands at Home
And a Random Article from It:
Burlap Harvest Place Mats
ake your Thanksgiving table festive with homemade place mats. It's fun for kids of all ages to stamp the painted designs and add details with dimensional paints. Supplies are inexpensive and will go a long way. "This was a great idea for my three kids, ages 3-8," says a mom from Cincinnati. The LaClairs of New York said it was fun for all of them, ages five to thirty-nine. An added benefit of this activity is the chance to talk to your kids about Thanksgiving. "It gave us the opportunity to explain to the kids about being thankful for special people and the things in our lives," says Lynda Hannan, mom of two young kids. A family in Ohio recalled the fun of making turkey napkin holders last year for Grandma, and a family in Nebraska talked about what their Thanksgiving would be like this year. An 11-year-old boy sums it up perfectly: "Thanksgiving was a good name to call this holiday because we are thankful to see each other and the aunts and uncles and Grandma and Grandpa."
ong ago (like 1960), the rhythm of the average American housewife's life was fairly standard no matter where you went. Each day had its own task, and so the work got done in a logical, orderly fashion as the week progressed. It went like this:
Monday: Wash Day
Tuesday: Ironing Day
Wednesday: Sewing Day
Thursday: Market Day
Friday: Cleaning Day
Saturday: Baking Day
Sunday: Day of Rest
With a few variations (some folks had a gardening day instead of a separate ironing day, or the days were not quite in this order), this is the way everyone kept house for more than a hundred years. It was such a common scheme that day-of-the-week dishtowels emblazoned with that day's chore were everywhere. (You can still get Aunt Martha iron-on embroidery or paint transfers with this scheme--I collect them, in fact.)
There was logic behind this. Laundry was far and away the heaviest task a housewife faced, requiring a great deal of strength and fortitude to hand-wring clothes and carry big baskets of wet laundry to the clothesline from the basement washtubs. Monday was the day to do it, when you were still fresh and rested from Sunday. Tuesday's ironing followed Monday's wash. Mending and sewing on Wednesday made sense when you'd just been through the clothes and noticed what needed a button or a patch. And so on.
TNH features the day-of-the-week scheme for historical interest, not because you should do your chores this way (though some women still do and swear by it). I just like the orderliness of it as an idea, and I love those old dish towels.
A note from reader Bill Larson: The children's song Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush outlines the chore system too, though there's no market day and two cleaning days in this scheme.
Oh--and we know that the "featured section" doesn't really line up with the chores on Monday--traditionally wash day and Family day at TNH--and Tuesday--traditionally ironing day and Healthy Living day at TNH--because we roll laundry and ironing articles into Clean and Organized, and we needed homes for Family and Healthy Living. ;)
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