(vintage kitchen at Memory Lane Heritage Village)
Today I feel like taking a trip down memory lane and introducing you to a special friend from my past who has recently started blogging, and in doing so, has filled me with sentiment for the early years of mothering and homemaking. Elizabeth, of My Frugal Farmhouse, was my best friend in the little village I lived in as a newly wed young woman. I met her at a play group I was invited to when my boys were just babies/toddlers. As we sipped cups of tea and quietly chatted (as our little ones made their acquaintances), I soon realized she was a kind, conscientious mother who shared a little of my germaphobia, my obsession with the proper use and installation of car seats, and a strong desire to feed my children only healthy, home-cooked meals. I was still in the blissful, idealistic young mum role, and threw myself into each and every aspect of parenting that I could. Elizabeth, a few years older than me and with a few more years of mothering under her belt, was a kindred spirit from whom I could seek advice, comfort, and companionship and we quickly bonded, much like our little boys.
(me and my boys, 1997)
On long days, when the toil of being stay-at-home mothers with few to bounce our children off for respite (my family lived seven hours away, so I was IT), one of us would bundle up our children and inadvertently end up at the other's house where we would enjoy chatting to someone who didn't drool as they spoke or dissolve into tears of frustration when a favourite toy went missing. In the evenings, we chatted on the telephone as we washed our dishes (neither of us had a dishwasher) and shared recipes, gripes, laughs, and worries and felt a little less alone in the world (or at least I did).
(Callum, age 2)
It was Elizabeth who introduced me to the bread machine, which I still use today to make my family's favourites like pizza dough, French bread, Challah bread, regular loaves and rolls, and she also advised me to NOT bake the bread in the machine but, rather, place it in a parchment lined loaf pan and bale it in the oven. That way, you can fool everyone and they will think you made it from scratch! Hah!
(some of Elizabeth's beautiful bread loaves)
Elizabeth is a wonderful baker, baking something (many things!) every day. I laughed to read on her blog the following piece of advice I had for her in my infinite twenty-something wisdom: "My friend Linda once told me when I was lamenting how I couldn't stay on top of my housework, 'it's all that baking you do, that's your downfall'. She was joking but she was so right!!" It is advice I still swear by.
You can't do it all. I have a pretty consistently tidy house but I rarely bake! Personally, I think her kids were happier with a little mess in the kitchen but a solid supply of baked goodies, and I never got any compliments from my little boys on how tidy my house was!
Elizabeth is fairly new to blogging and her posts are from the heart, full of great money saving-homemaking and decorating tips, and just an enjoyable read for those of us who love our homes and taking care of our families. Please take a moment to stop by and welcome her and follow her blog (I know she will be thrilled by that!).
And thank you Elizabeth for writing such a sweet post about me and our friendship (you can read it here)