Thursday, December 31, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Dear Sally and Bobby,
Friday, September 4, 2009
To my surprise, I discovered that not everyone knows what a bathinette is! I asked Don to go through his slides to find a picture of one to show you. Here's a photo he took a few years ago at a neighbor's christening. Bathinettes are bathtubs for babies. (I'll have to remind Don to bring ours down from the attic.) Modern mothers prefer them because they're soft and shallow and safer than tubs and also serve as changing tables.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Have you seen Don's company's lovely new billboard for Popsicles? It's designed to be seen after dark. But why? Those night owl art directors. Don't they realize most of us shop during the day?
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I complain now and then about the hours Don puts in, but I like being married to someone with an exciting career. Because he's in advertising, he can bring home free samples like new Utz snacks and the latest lipstick colors from Belle Jolie. He also gets comp tickets for Broadway shows and new movies. We're seeing an exciting new film Sunday nite. "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World." Everyone is talking about how great it will be. The director is the best in the business, Don says. He brought home a few extra tickets, would you like one?
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Last night, I discovered a simple solution to the exasperating problem of wobbly dining room chairs. Wine bottle corks! Don brought Roger Sterling home for dinner and while I was in the kitchen, Roger out took his pen knife and sliced off a piece of the cork and slipped it under the troublesome leg. He says wine is the answer to most troubles in life. He's such a card, isn't he?
Monday, May 25, 2009
When I was a little girl, we called it Decoration Day. It was the day for decorating graves of people who had died in the Great War. Daddy used to get us up early to go visit soldiers' graves. He'd give us little American flags and we'd place a flag on each headstone. There was always a parade later. Everyone wore poppies in their buttonholes. One year, William got to be a marching drummer in it. He wore a gold satin shirt, blue trousers and a blue tam with a gold tassel. Oh, I was jealous!
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
I think it's as important for a housewife to dress up in the morning as it is for someone going into the office, don't you? How you look can affect your morale. Even your productivity! I find I get a lot more done if I'm feeling good about myself. And looking my best gives my spirits a lift, especially important in the doldrums of winter. Taking pains with your appearance also sets an example for children to follow, and household help, too.
Dressing well doesn't have to mean dressing fancy. I like to wear pants. (They make them with maternity bands now.) A simple cashmere sweater with pearl earrings is always a good look. And can be easily brightened with a colorful silk scarf.
Are you at home today reading this in your slippers? Go put on your face! You'll be surprised how much better you'll feel. Besides. You never know who might be ringing your doorbell.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Drinks with the Darlings last night, who had a little party to welcome their visiting cousin, Lidian. We got to talking about kitchens and Lidian said she is doing over hers pink! She showed us a picture she is copying. Isn't it grand? Which makes me wonder if our powder blue and knotty pine are a little old hat. Perhaps pink and walnut might be more modern? Don likes things just the way they are. But who knows what changes the 1960s will bring?
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Thank heavens, I don't have to economize drastically like my mother did during the war. When I was a girl, you needed ration stamps to buy shoes and gas and even butter. (Remember the plastic bags of oleomargarine that came out then, bags with the color capsule embedded in it? It was my job to knead the bag to make the white oleo buttery yellow. I hated this chore which William never had to do.)
We're lucky to be living when men have well-paying jobs and young families can buy houses. But that doesn't mean I don't do my part to economize. A housewife may not earn money directly, but she can add to the family income by making things stretch. Like, adding Wheaties to ground meat which I did last night when I thought Don might be bringing a guest home unannounced for dinner. (False alarm.)
Here are a few other hints:
Care for black lace lingerie by washing it in a solution of one tablespoon of ammonia to one cup of coffee. (I learned this from Francine. Have no idea why it works, but it does!)
If soup is too salty, don't throw it away. A couple of pinches of brown sugar will get rid of salty taste but won't sweeten soup.
Large seashells make great candleholders. Sally and I search for pretty shells when we go visit Daddy at the Jersey shore. I put votive candles in them to light up the powder room for parties. Festive!
Freshen day-old rolls and biscuits by tying them up in a brown paper sack that you sprinkle with water and warm in the oven. The rolls will taste fresh as if they were just brought by the bread man!
Which reminds me...have to run take my (leftover from Sunday roast) beef Stroganoff out of the oven! Do you have other tips on economizing? Drop me a line.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Don and I had a lovely time at the Shorty Awards ceremony. Ad people certainly know how to throw a party. Live swing band. Fancy four course dinner. When Peggy went onstage to receive her award, she got a standing ovation. Don clapped so hard, I thought he'd pop his tux buttons. I was so happy for her! I know she deserves it. Yet a part of me can't help but wish someone gave out awards for being a housewife.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
Mix together thoroughly...
1 C soft shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
Sift together and stir in...
2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Chill dough. Roll into balls the size of small walnuts. Roll in mixture of 2 TB sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon. Place about 2" apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned...but still soft. (These cookies puff up at first...then flatten out with crinkled tops.)
Bake 8 to 10 min. at 400. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.
Delicious with Kool-Aid and adult beverages, too!
designed by one of Sal's talented juniors, Bernardo
Friday, January 23, 2009
Is there any aroma so comforting as brownies in the oven? These are one of Sally's favorite "welcome home from school" treats. The recipe I use is Betty Crocker's. You probably have it. But just in case:
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup Flour (I use Gold Medal)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 c coarsely chopped walnuts
Heat oven to 350. Melt butter over low heat. Remove from heat; stir in sugar until blended; cool. Stir in egg. Stir flour, baking powder, salt together. Blend into butter mixture. Mix in vanilla and walnuts. Spread in well-greased 8x8x2" sq. pan. Bake 25 min. Do not overbake! Cut in bars while warm. Makes 18 bars about 2 1/2 x 1". Just big enough so as not to spoil their suppers!
Thursday, January 22, 2009
And because Don is always on the lookout for good creatives, he's running a creative contest for people who vote! Cast your vote for Peggy and/or me and the wording he thinks is most creative for each will win a good-as-gold-plated Sterling Cooper Creative Award! He's even gotten a client to sponsor prizes (which is more than the Shorty founders have done!) Most Creative Voter for Peggy will win a night on the town with the Sterling Cooper Gang at the Tom Tom*. Most Creative Voter for Betty will win a shopping trip in NY with...yours truly!*
If you've already voted and want to make yours more creative, that's ok! Simply vote again! Your official Shorty vote is the last one you send in each category.
So sharpen your pencil and put on your thinking cap and put in a vote. Vote for Peggy here and Betty here. Just finish the sentence. But brainstorm quickly! The Shorty Award voting ends at midnight tomorrow! The Sterling Cooper Voter Award will be announced next week!
*all prizes and time travel simulated in twitterspace
Lucky Strike "It's Toasted" is the Official Sponsor of Sterling Cooper Award for Creative Voters--May Your Strike Be the Lucky One!
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
The Singer store is having a Winter special on Charm Lessons for Young Ladies. Sally is a little too young to sign up, but of course I'm already teaching her how to behave at the table. I think good table manners are important, don't you? It's surprising how many people don't seem to have them these days. I was particularly struck by this while dining next to Jimmy Barrett one night. He may be a big star but he's a boor at the table.
Here are a few basics I'm teaching Bobby and Sally. Some parents (like my brother!) are lax about table manners at home. But I think it's confusing to have two sets of rules: one for home and one for dining out. If children are brought up so that table manners are automatic, they're less likely to suffer dinner-party anxiety later in life. If you have any rules to add, please let me know!
1. Put your napkin on your lap as soon as you sit down. Don't tuck it in your collar and never, ever blow your nose in it! Use your hankie!
2. When you are eating soup, tip the spoon slightly away from you, don't scoop it towards you, like mashed potatoes. When the plate is almost empty, tip it away from you, too, so if you spill, nothing will fall in your lap.
3. Never, ever hold your knife in your left hand.
4. Cut only one small piece of meat at a time; don't chop it all up like you are dissecting it for observation.
5. Don't straddle your knife across the edge of the plate, or even worse, place it half-off the plate as if it were the oar of a rowboat. The proper resting position for silverware is fork and knife crossed on the plate, with the fork turned down, the tines making a little bridge over your knife. This is why the tines are curved!
6. Signal that you are finished your meal by "marrying" your knife and fork on the plate. Place them together, resting in the center of the plate. Don't try to signal that you are finished by pushing your plate away from you. It's rude!
7. It's not rude to eat your asparagus with fingers.
8. Dessert plates are sometimes served with a finger bowl. Do not drink from this bowl! Remove it and set it on the table, slightly northwest of your plate.
9. After dessert, dip the tips of your fingers in the fingerbowl. Don't try to wash your hands! It is not a sink!
10. Don't try to look refined by sticking out your little finger when you pick up a cup. This is a mark of sophistication only on television!
11. Don't get up from a table until your hostess does.
12. Most important of all: Remember that you've been invited to a dinner party not because you're in need of nourishment, but because you're thought to be a valuable addition to the table. Keep up your end of the conversation! Don't just sit there, looking like a sad sack. Be gay! (A colleague of Don's is quite accomplished in this area--ask Sal for tips in guiding your sons!)
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
My husband Don is head of a creative department in an ad agency, so being creative is his job. His job depends on getting ideas. (And we depend on his job!) He writes down an idea as soon as it comes to him, so it won't get away. That's why you see him scribbling on napkins, backs of envelopes, even sometimes on his linen hankies! I just found a matchbook from California in his blue summer jacket. Sure enough, there's even scribbling in that. Can't make out most words, only "Joy" and "Palm". Which must mean he's pitching the dish detergent account. Shhhh. Don't tell friends at Grey!
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Certainly I use modern ballpoint pens for "business" purposes like signing checks, but I still prefer the smooth, lovely look a fountain pen gives to friendly letters and thank you notes, don't you? Of course, Sally's teacher insists that the children use fountain pens in Palmer penmanship class but now the school is allowing them to use ballpoints, too. Which certainly makes for fewer laundry disasters. But I wonder if something is lost in the process of encouraging children to write cursive without a nib. (I prefer extra-fine.)
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Monday, January 5, 2009
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Betty Draper's Mickey Mouse Pancakes
2 C Bisquik
1 C milk
2 T sugar
2 tsp baking power
1 tsp vanilla
Whisk ingredients together in a pyrex bowl. (Except chips and marshmallows.) Pour 1/3 cup batter onto a greased griddle for Mickey's face, then 1/8 cup for each of Mickey's ears. When Mickey's face starts to bubble, use a long spatula under his head and as much of the right ear as possible. Flip. Once pancake is flipped, press 2 chocolate chips to make eyes, 5 chips for his smile and a marshmallow for his nose. When lightly browned, remove from skillet and repeat. I serve with Parkay and Mrs. Butterworth's.
Friday, January 2, 2009
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Wonderful time at a black-tie party in town with Don last night. But oh, how we're paying for it this morning. Luckily, I always keep Bromo on hand. They also make Fizzies, the fruit drink I sometimes give Bobby and Sally for their health. It comes in little fruit tablets you put into water. Sweet, but no sugar. The magic of cyclamates! Happy New Year!