Friday, December 28, 2018

Victory Menus for Christmas Week, 1918

I have fully participated in the modern food trends of the holiday season. I’ve read the cookbooks, watched the baking shows and the Christmas menu videos, and have eaten my share of it all.
It’s as if we take all the richest, sweetest, most decadent foods we’ve ever experienced and cram them into the week between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day, with nary a memory our first round of decadence at Thanksgiving time. Then we wake out of our stupor on January 2nd, stock up on vegetables, and wonder how we possibly survived on sugar and butter for so long. It’s a wonderful cycle.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2018

An Amish Schoolhouse Christmas; part 2

...I divided up the chores, with some of them clapping erasers, washing off desks, and emptying trash, while the older boys moved all the desks to one side of the room then back to the other side while the older girls and I swept the floor. A few girls drew pictures on the blackboard and a welcome message for our guests. During the weekly art time in December, the scholars had colored Christmas pictures, made stars from old Christmas cards, glued construction paper chains, and hung paper snowflakes from the ceiling.

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Sunday, December 23, 2018

An Amish Schoolhouse Christmas, part 1

Once upon a time, I was a teacher in a most unusual setting. I taught in a little one room schoolhouse without electricity or running water. (Nope, I’m not 120 years old, either.) While not a member of the community, I was the schoolteacher in an Old Order Amish settlement.

The settlement was a new one and very small at the time. It was made up of young, growing families with no one free to take over the school responsibilities. So in an unprecedented move, they looked outside their community, asked around, and offered the job to me, an English (i.e., non-Amish) 20-something. Who could turn down an opportunity like that? Well, apparently, a lot of people could. Not everyone would enjoy spending 8 hours a day in a different culture, teaching children in 8 different grades, and all without modern technology or conveniences. But I couldn’t pass up the chance and that was lucky for me.

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Monday, December 17, 2018

Spending Money to Save Money

I can’t resist reading all the “how to save money at Christmas” articles online during the holidays. Frugal gifts, inexpensive meals and treats, DIY decorations--all the suggestions are interesting. Keeping things simple seem to be the overall theme.

But I’d like to suggest that spending less and taking a minimal approach during the Christmas season isn’t always the best long range strategy. Instead of saving money during the holidays, I often spend more than I usually do. Way more, actually. I’m flinging money around at a madcap pace.

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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Pioneer Life in Kansas, by Mary Barrett, 1912, Part 10

Oh, joy! the man--a white man, too--had seen her and was waving back at her!

All this the little tot told the older sister who was vainly trying to hide in the short buffalo grass, but the sister would not believe that help was really at hand, but lay there face downward, overcome with fear.

The brave, blue-capped soldier swooped down upon them and leaping from his horse gathered the little tot who had stood up so bravely that he might see her in his arms, at the same time catching sight of the frightened child lying on the ground.

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Monday, December 10, 2018

Pioneer Life in Kansas, by Mary Barrett, 1912, Part 9

After quenching their thirst and resting awhile, they again started on their ceaseless search for "home." The second night they slept under a lone tree. In the night a hoot owl began his hoarse cry in the branches above and the little wanderers, wakened out a sound slumber, crouched close together in fear, till the coming of day, expecting every minute that an Indian would jump down from the tree and scalp them!

However, when day began to break and a huge bird stretched his neck and flopped his wings and soared out of the tree and away, away, the little girls forgetting for a time their sorry plight, laughed heartily at their being "scared all night at a bird!"

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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Pioneer Life in Kansas, by Mary Barrett, 1912, Part 8

Mr. Bell, the uncle, and some neighbors started immediately for Fort Hays, where some soldiers were barricaded, for help, not knowing what direction the Indians had gone. The men knew too that they were not able to cope with the Indians, and recapture the children should they find them alive.

All possible haste was made in reaching the fort, and soldiers were soon racing over the prairie in every direction, looking for any sign that might tell them Indians had been near.

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Monday, December 3, 2018

Pioneer Life in Kansas, by Mary Barrett, 1912, Part 7

Living in Beloit was a family by the name of Bell. They were among the very earliest to settle here, and knew much of the depredations of the Indians.

A year or so before my acquaintance with this family began, two of the children, girls aged seven and five years, were visiting for a time with an aunt who lived on a homestead about fifteen miles southeast of town.

One day while the aunt was busy in the house and the children were playing in the yard, a band of Indians suddenly surrounded the house. The children ran in, screaming with fright, clinging to the terrified aunt for protection. The husband and uncle were away at a neighbor’s at work, and the poor, helpless woman knew not what to do!

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