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Archive for March, 2010

A Woman’s Work Is Never Done

Thursday Thirteen

I hate doing housework. I’d better admit that upfront, but it’s the subject of my Thursday Thirteen this week.

1. A few hundred years ago all members of a household worked together to make everything they needed. Within this productive unit, housework contributed to the production of goods for internal use as well as for sale to others.

2. Housework in nineteenth century America was harsh physical labor. Preparing even a simple meal was a time and energy consuming chore. Prior to the twentieth century, cooking was performed on a coal or wood burning stove. Altogether, a housewife spent four hours every day sifting ashes, adjusting dampers, lighting fires, carrying coal or wood, and rubbing the stove with thick black wax to keep it from rusting.

3. Cleaning was an even more arduous task than cooking. The soot and smoke from coal and wood burning stoves blackened walls and dirtied drapes and carpets. Gas and kerosene lamps left smelly deposits of black soot on furniture and curtains. Each day, the lamp’s glass chimneys had to be wiped and wicks trimmed or replaced. Floors had to scrubbed, rugs beaten, and windows washed.

4. Well-to-do familiescould afford to hire a cook at $5 a week, a waitress at $3.50 a week, a laundress at $3.50 a week, and a cleaning woman and a choreman for $1.50 a day, but in most homes, the chores were carried out by the wife and daughters of the household.

5. Before indoor plumbing, all chores that involved water such as laundry, dishes, cleaning floors etc were extra difficult and time-consuming.

6. Washing used to take all day.

7. In 1924, a typical housewife spent about 52 hours a week in housework.

8. A housewife today spends less time cooking and cleaning up after meals, but she spends just as much time as her ancestors on housecleaning and even more time on shopping, household management, laundry, and childcare.

9. Women traditionally did most of the home’s cooking, so historical cookbooks often shed light on the ordinary lives of women. Recipes show the preparation methods common in historical times. Many cookbook authors were women. Cook books of history included directions for many household activities beyond the preparation of meals.

10. The first electric washing machine was invented in 1906 but at first washing machines were very expensive in the early 20th century. They became more common in the 1930s, though they were still expensive. Washing machines did not really become common until the 1960s.

11. A woman named Josephine Cochran invented the first practical dishwasher in 1886. Hers was worked by hand but an electric dishwasher was made in 1922. However in Britain dishwashers did not become common until the late 20th century.

12. Dust bunnies shelter themselves under more American beds today than ever before. That’s according to a University of Maryland study about how people use their time. Whatever the reason — two income families or accommodating multiple schedules – American homes are not as spanking clean as they were a decade ago. In 1965 women spent 27 hours a week on housework. Today that figure has dropped below 16 hours.

13. It’s not that men can’t clean, it’s just not in their nature. The male perception of what constitutes a dirty house is far different from a woman’s. Like other major female-oriented issues, men seem oblivious to the value of cleaning. But amazing as it may seem the woman of the house may be learning a thing or two from men.

I don’t mind laundry, but I dislike the folding and putting away after it’s done. I don’t mind taking out the rubbish or stacking the dishwasher. I hate emptying the dishwasher once the cycle is finished.

What household chores do you dislike most?

Sources: Housework – History Of Housework
Digital History
Historical Cookbooks
A History of Housework
Household Tips

Can’t Catch Me…I’m A Gingerbread Man!

I’ve always wanted to make gingerbread men and finally got around to it this weekend. They were surprisingly easy to make and, once the dough is made, children of all ages would have fun rolling out the dough and cutting out the gingerbread men. The perfect activity for a spring break.

Gingerbread Men

3 tablespoons golden syrup
75g caster sugar (about 3 oz)
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 1/2 teaspoon ginger
75g butter (about 3/4 of a stick)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
225g plain flour (8 oz)

Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F) Gently melt syrups, sugar, water an spices in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring well. Remove from heat, add butter and baking soda. Add enough sifted flour to make a firm dough. Sit aside to cool. Roll out dough and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Decorate with currants or chocolate bits as desired and bake for about 12 minutes or until golden and crisp


Shelley’s notes: The recipe made nine gingerbread men, although if I hadn’t kept nibbling at the dough, it would have probably made ten. I cooked mine for ten minutes, but if I made them again I think I’d cook them for eight minutes because my oven cooks fast. The final result was yummy, but I need more practice with my piping. Use raisins, currants, M & Ms or plain icing for decoration. You could even use something like dried cranberries. Your imagination is the only limit!

Have you made gingerbread men before?

My Favorite Shorts

I have a favorite pair of shorts. In fact, I’m wearing them as I write this post. They’re over five years old now and well worn. The fabric has faded. They’ve become thin and frayed at the hems. I love them because they’re comfortable.

Yesterday, I was packing for our holiday. Mr. Munro said to me, “You’re not taking those, are you? If you take those I’m not standing beside you.”

Yes, he was insulting my favorite shorts.

“No,” I said with a haughty sniff. After all, he has made his opinion clear several times during the course of this summer. Secretly, I’m hoping my shorts will make it through another summer, but I didn’t tell Mr. Munro that. Personally, I can’t see anything wrong with them. They cover all essentials, and as I mentioned earlier, they’re very comfortable.

Do you have a favorite item of apparel that you wear all the time?

Ready For Take-Off

Camera Critters

My hubby went out with his brother on his boat this weekend. He took this photo of a shag drying its feathers at the marina.


To see more animal or bird photos visit Camera Critters

The Odd Couple

Camera Critters

Hubby and I wandered down to the local school to check out their gala day. I snapped this shot of a miniature pony and a Great Dane puppy because it made me laugh. I actually had trouble getting a decent shot because people got in the way. The pony wanted to hide under the trailer while the Great Dane wanted to sleep. They are definitely “The Odd Couple.”



To see more animal photos visit Camera Critters

Fancy Free at Book Junkie!

I’m visiting Book Junkie today where I’m talking about my contemporary romance, Fancy Free, and where I get some of my ideas.

Fancy Free also has a great review.

Driving Me Crazy

Thursday Thirteen

I don’t drive very often because it’s not my favorite thing to do. I’m much happier walking or catching the bus or train so I can read or write at the same time. Today I drove to our local town to do some banking and pick up prescriptions. I’m firmly convinced most of the drivers on the road are idiots. I was pleased to get back home in one piece.

In honor of drivers everywhere, both good and bad, here are Thirteen Driving Quotes

1. Natives who beat drums to drive off evil spirits are objects of scorn to smart Americans who blow horns to break up traffic jams. ~Mary Ellen Kelly

2. Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you and scorn in the one ahead. ~Mac McCleary

3. A suburban mother’s role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car forever after. ~Peter De Vries

4. The best car safety device is a rear-view mirror with a cop in it. ~Dudley Moore

5. It takes 8,460 bolts to assemble an automobile, and one nut to scatter it all over the road. ~Author Unknown

6. Leave sooner, drive slower, live longer. ~Author Unknown

7. And I, I took the road less traveled by. I was using a GPS system. ~Robert Brault,

8. I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol. ~Author Unknown

9. Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves. ~Albert Einstein

10. Hug your kids at home, but belt them in the car. ~Author Unknown

11. When buying a used car, punch the buttons on the radio. If all the stations are rock and roll, there’s a good chance the transmission is shot. ~Larry Lujack

12. The longest journey begins with a single step, not with a turn of the ignition key. ~Edward Abbey

13. You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive. ~Author Unknown


Am I the only one who mutters a lot when they’re out driving?

Dear Author – A Note From Your Heroine

This post is inspired by Heather at The Galaxy Express and her post, Attention, please! This is your heroine speaking.

Dear Author,

I salute you. You sit for long hours in front of the computer as you labor over our stories. Without you none of us would be here. Mostly, you do us proud but I’d like you to consider the following:

1. Please, please don’t make me go down to the basement when there is a killer on the loose. Credit me with a little common sense and help me do something intelligent. Heroine
I don’t want readers to snigger at me and call me Too Stupid To Live. I deserve more than that, don’t you think?

2. I know popular opinion says heroines are slender and pretty, but how about making me stand out from the crowd? Make me sexy–sure, I like sexy as much as the next girl, but I can be sexy and an average size. Give me a few curves. Don’t you know I enjoy food? Oh, and if you give me curves, don’t go on and on about my size. I’m happy, really I am.

3. Please don’t take a stereotype and foist it on me. I’m not a hooker with a big heart. I’m not an ice princess. I’m not a geeky librarian. Give me individuality.

4. I like alpha men–really, I do, but at least give me a spine so I can stand up to them. No wimps should apply here.

5. I’m not perfect. I know that, but do you know it too? Give me some flaws and balance them with some of the good stuff. Make me human because readers will like me better that way.

6. Give me a snarky voice. I’m cool with that, but don’t make me snark all the way through the book. Readers won’t like me if I do that. They might call me a bitch, you know, and wonder what the hero sees in me.

7. Likewise, if my hero is going to be a bastard, let him fall off his high horse at some stage. Make him see the error of his ways or at least let me use my knee in his private parts. It might hurt him, but it would make me feel better after all the verbal abuse.

8. And finally, if you’re gonna make me have anal sex, please, please, please give me some lube.

Yours faithfully,
A Heroine.

What would your heroine write in a letter? Readers, what do you think the heroine should write?

Ride Free with Debra Kayn.

I’m thrilled to have author, Debra Kayn as my special guest today. Debra is taking about her newest release, Ride Free, which is book two in The Chromes and Wheels Gang series. If you like motorcycles and sexy heroes along with your romance, this is the series for you. Over to Debra…

Ride FreeThank you for letting me guest blog today, Shelley. I’m bouncing in my seat, because you have one of my favorite places to visit in blog world. :grin:

Do you think there is one special person out there in the big world that is perfect for you? Are you willing to wait for that person knowing you might never cross paths?

I’ll admit that there are days where I believe my hubs is THE perfect man for me. He reads my mind, finishes my sentences, and predicts what I need. I can tell when something is bothering him, guess how he’ll react to bad news/good news, and I just “click” with him. Then there are those times when he leaves his dirty socks laying in the living room, or he’s too stubborn to admit that he’s wrong and I’m right. Those days I wonder what planet he came from! :grin:

I love the idea of soul mates, to know instantly that you’ve met the perfect person for you with no doubts or hesitation. That is what happened to my character Sarah in Ride Free, Book Two of The Chromes and Wheels Gang. She knew from the start that biker bad boy, Reefer, was the man she’d love for the rest of her life. He wasn’t such a big believer in fate, but Sarah knew exactly what she had to do.

Here is an excerpt for you to enjoy that shows Sarah knowing exactly what she wants.

Sarah grinned. “You have to realize I’ve dreamed about riding a motorcycle of my own around the country forever. It’s the way I escaped…”

“Go on, sweetheart.” He linked his fingers with hers and brought her hand up to kiss. “Tell me what you needed to escape.”

Her nose wrinkled. “You’ve met my da, remember?”

“What about your mom?”

“She drank right alongside him. She died from cirrhosis of the liver a few years ago.” Sarah twisted her mouth. “I imagine my da is going to follow in her footsteps soon. He won’t quit for anyone.”

Reefer pulled her back down to his chest. “But why fantasize about becoming a biker?”

“To ride from one place to another with the wind on your face. All the outside noises muffled by the roar of the engine. It’s musical, don’t you think?” Sarah sat up again. “It’s strange, but the comfort I get off the drums at the reservation is the same rush I get when I hear your bike.”

His lips tightened. She smiled.

“It beats in here.” She placed her hand on his chest.

“But, your family…” he reminded her.

She shook her head. “No, it is only my da, and he is better off without the reminder that he has a daughter. He drinks more when I am around.”

“But, you have steady employment—”

“That doesn’t matter. Listen to me, Reefer. There is nothing in my life to tie me to this place.” She placed her hands on his cheeks. “I want to live the life of a biker, to sail away and live one day at a time.”

“Jesus, Sarah…” He set his forehead against hers. “I’m bad news, sweetheart.”

“Don’t talk about yourself that way.” She wished somehow his doubts might flow out of him and he’d soak up her confidence.

“The only family I have is the other bikers, Sarah. I promised myself when I was sixteen that I would never ever leave them.” Reefer’s breath caught. “I don’t know if it is fair to take you away from everything you know, away from the only relative you have. Tell me what to do, sweetheart.”

“Take me with you. Let me love you.” She wound her arms around his neck and pulled his lips towards her. “Let’s ride the wind together.”

Buy Link for Ride Free by Debra Kayn

You can find out more about the books I write at I love to talk to readers, so stop by and say hi!

CONTEST: Debra is giving away a copy of Ride Free to one lucky person today. All you need to do is post a comment and you’re in the draw! The winner will be announced later tonight.

Dropping in for a Visit

Camera Critters

We live near an estuary and have lots of water birds hanging around. The ducks, especially, seem to like roaming the roads and visiting people. We often have ducks on our front lawn. When Scotty and I used to go for a walk they’d follow after us, squawking for food. This one actually landed in the back part of our lawn. We fed her and she came back a few days later. It was a hot day, and I had all the sliding doors open. I was writing and happened to look up to see the duck ready to step right into our lounge. I scrambled to shut the door and we eyed each other through the glass for about five minutes.


To see more animal photos visit Camera Critters.

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