August 11, 2008

Little House on the Prairie

A few weeks ago I went to a friend's house for what she called "Little House on the Prairie Day".
What, you ask, is that?
Well, since you asked, I'll tell you.

It was a day designed for females of all ages to get together for fellowship and learning, laughter and sharing.

About 2 months ago my friend sent an email to a gazillion women inviting them to her house for a day of teaching and learning. The day started at 9:00A.M. and went until approximately 4:30P.M. We started with a little free time so we could visit and meet new people, then at 9:30 we prayed and began the day.

Basically this is what the day was like:
There were approximately 21 women there and 35 children. Anyone could teach a "class", but if you didn't feel comfortable teaching you could just sit and learn. (That was my personal choice.)
These are just some of the classes that were taught:

-How to make goat cheese and yogurt
-How to bake your own bread/rolls
-How to plan a menu and why
-How to make a plantain tincture
-How to make English muffins
-Jewelry making
-A short lesson on herbs and their healing power

Each person that taught a class was given approximately 30-45 minutes to teach. Then we had a ten minute break before the next class began. Because there were so many people there and so many great teachers, we didn't really break for lunch. We just ate lunch quietly while we listened to one of the teachers.

It was a great day, and actually has been life changing for our family. (I'll write about that another day.)

I wanted to tell you about this special day because I could see it being the start of something wonderful. We don't sit on our front porches and visit with the neighbors anymore-thereby perhaps missing out on learning something new. Most people I know don't live down the road from Granny and therefore can't learn from her wisdom and experience.

We all bumble along in our own private, hurried bubbles; lonely perhaps, exhausted, stressed, wanting some advice on how to?....

This was a great way to slow down a little, fellowship, and ask and learn.

I've been thinking about some other ways you could use a day like this:

-Have a day called "Frugal Living". You could share the ways you've learned to stretch the not-so-almighty-anymore dollar in order to make your ends meet.

-Have an Empty Nest Tea where women can gather who are in the middle of the nest emptying, know the nest will be emptying soon, or already have an empty nest. I found a great book about the empty nest that has been a huge comfort and help. I just may make it after all!
However, it would be wonderful to sit with other women and laugh and cry and share face to face what this time of life is like and how to make it through with joy.

-Have a recipe swap. I'm always on the lookout for new recipes that are tried and true. It would be fun to sit with other women and share recipe and cooking tips.

-Or, you could just throw structure to the wind and have a "Little House on the Prairie Day". Just let whoever teach whatever and learn whatever. You may be surprised, as I was, what the Lord wants to bring into your life.


  1. We should have one called "Little Bomb Shelter on the Prairie" and model it after the skills we learned growing up:

    - Ambushing one another with sticks and rocks

    - Incinerating large objects with black-powder (coarse gunpowder for the uninitiated)

    - Shooting at flying birds with bows and arrows (and then running so we wouldn't get hit when our projectiles returned to earth)

    - Cooking strange meals in the woods in an attempt to "live off the land" (squirrel, crawdad, blackbird, morel and wild onion stew anyone?)

    - Bringing home every slimy critter we found, half the time leaving them in our pockets for you to discover while doing laundry.

    - Building GI Joe forts and then using black-cats and .22s to "destroy the Nazis" (I was Indiana Jones, even had the whip and the hat).

    - Digging up broken bottles from "an ancient civilization" in the ravines.

    - Using 200 year old tools to build primitive traps, rafts, tree-houses, flame-throwers, log cabins, catapults, fishing lines and "rugged" mother's day presents.

    Yep, that sounds like my kind of party. Let me know if you have one of those; I have a PhD and will gladly instruct on the finer points.

    Love you,

    Your firstborn and the joy of your life

  2. It's surprising in this age of technology and convenience how many of us long to experience and learn about the old ways. Or to gather and visit. Like a quilting bee! But I digress... I'm so thrilled you were able to go!!

  3. Fun, fun! Having a whole day to fellowship is a nice break in the schedule; so often it is limited to "After I drop 'so-and-so' off and before I pick 'so-and-so 2' up. Or "after I finish this paperwork but before I start my business project--oh, wait! Somewhere in there I need to invent something for dinner!"
    I'm so glad you could go and have that time of encouragement.
    I'm thinking that the frugal living one sounds great! We could have Rachel H. and my Moma come and teach us the tenents of Dave Ramsey and the finer points of budgeteering. I'll come an discuss how working at a meat market can save a lot of money on food, provided you don't offset the savings my incurring medical costs with your injuries.
    There's lots of fun ideas you could play about a scrapbooking day, where you discuss your favorite pages, and why they are your favorites, and how to achieve them? You could each make a page of special photos of kids, vacations, et al. were supposed to compliment your mother and mention other skill sets you learned growing up--not the ambushing and destroying, but the stuff she wants to hear about, like "good table manners, writing poems, and cooking healthy, balanced meals."
    Although, I could get into the whole "living off the land" thing.....I had a stage when I was fixated upon self-sufficiency. I think that is one of the reasons I find hiking so fun--it forces you to be self-sufficient for shelter, food, safety, etc.
    Anywho, fun post about fun times! Nothing like going back to the basics of homemaking.

  4. Oh no Alex, it was my cousin Jesse who was responsible for instructing me my exquisite table manners, for fine-tuning my suave and debonair aura and for teaching me to express the mighty upheavals and epic battles of passion raging within my soul through the untamed savagery yet composed meter of poetry. Yes, he truly was my mentor in the finer and more sensitive parts of life. Without his influence I would have become a mere savage, while my mother taught me all of my bad habits.

    Ben (AKA Mom's firstborn child and the joy of her life)

    PS Uh, huh - you're still laughing, aren't you mom? ;) I'm glad you got to go and spend time with women doing the things that you always wanted to do with your kids but never got the chance since God tested (I mean blessed of course) you with four very rough-and-tumble boys. OK, I'll stop commenting on your blog now - it looks like I'm scaring everyone away :)

  5. I've never heard of this...who hosted? What a great, great idea! I totally, totally think all love your ideas are great!

  6. We don't sit on our front porches and visit with the neighbors anymore-thereby perhaps missing out on learning something new. Most people I know don't live down the road from Granny and therefore can't learn from her wisdom and experience.

    This is one of the greatest heartbreaks for me. My mom grew up in a VERY small coal mining town in PA (maybe 300 people?) They were much more than neighbors. They truly WERE community in every sense of the word. Her stories fascinate me. I am very nostalgic anyway, so my childhood experiences at Gram's intertwines with Mom's childhood. Sigh, loving sigh.

    How sad it is to me that those days of community and cohesiveness are gone; replaced or revamped in some ways, but just completely gone in others. And you're so correct about the missed opportunity to learn from the wisdom and skills or experience of others.

    What a great day you surely had with those ladies. And I especially liked your empty nest idea. I'm nowhere near that (yet! Oh, how it's always creeping toward us). But I know that some support would be wonderful in those difficult days to come.
    p.s. totally cracking up at Ben's first post. :D

  7. I love this idea! What a great homeschool field trip and a day of learning for the moms too!! I'd love to be a part of something like that. My mom is great and she taught me alot but I don't think we get enough training for the line of work alot of us women are in: homemaking. Where can we go to learn how to do the things we need to do to keep our homes functioning? There aren't alot of homemaking classes around. I think a day on the prairie would be very educational. Thanks for sharing! If you ever decide to coordinate an event like this count me in!!


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