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Homemaking 101: Practice Makes Perfect

By Rachel Paxton

I recently paid a quarter for one of the most inspirational homemaking books I've yet to come across. Published in 1952 and written by Carolyn Coggins, it is called Successful Entertaining at Home. At first glance I thought this book was just a manual for teaching you how to host a successful dinner party, but at closer examination I saw that it was much more than that - it's "a complete party book and homemaker's manual all rolled into one."

I have yet to barely scratch the surface of this detailed, lively account of the way many homemakers may have run their households in the 1950s, but the whole concept of the book really took hold of my thoughts and made some useful distinctions in my mind that will forever guide me on my road to being a better, more creative homemaker.

The first chapter of the book is called "It all Depends on Your Point of View." I was intrigued by this concept, and read on to find idea after idea that would appeal even to the modern-day creative homemaker. The author suggests " advantage of being 'seasoned' by money or travel is that you are no longer afraid to do what you already knew was sensible." What a concept! This idea could be applied to any area of homemaking. Do you really need a lot of money to have a warm, inviting home? The author, and I, too, would suggest that you don't. Of course most of us may never have the luxury of having money and then deciding we really didn't need it in the first place to improve the quality of our lives, but you do have the choice whether or not you will make the best of what you have and decide to turn your house into a home. No one is born the with the talent of being a creative homemaker. It's easy to be jealous of others who have talents you may desire, but the fact is that those people are just putting to use skills they have spent possibly many years mastering. You can't let this intimidate you into thinking you can't do it too (I'm still working on this one!).

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Imagine what your life would be like if you spent more of your time and energy focused on learning new and better ways to run your household to save yourself time as well as money. And how about making your home a place where your family enjoys spending time together? These ideals do not require much money, but they do require your time and attention. Be open to new ideas, read books on topics that interest you, and share ideas with like-minded people. You'll be surprised at your new zest for life and the ideas that will start coming into your mind effortlessly. Don't let precious time slip away from you. The information is all around you if you just open yourself up to it.

© Rachel Paxton
Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and Christian wife and mom who is the author of What's for Dinner?, an e-cookbook containing more than 250 quick easy dinner ideas. For more recipes, organizing tips, home decorating, crafts, holiday hints, and more, visit Creative Homemaking at


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