A Good Home, Canadian Homes, Home, Keeping House

Housekeeping Wisdom and Foolishness

Lately, I’ve been going through my journals. As you can imagine, it’s not all pleasant reading. But some of it is funny, and even wise. Sharing:


I’m known for my cooking. How I wish that were not so. My cooking skills are legendary for all the wrong reasons. 


Of course I believe in miracles! I say that every time something I bake turns out well.

Blog Photo - Cake 2


If I could, I’d have all-white furniture in my living room, and admire it from afar. I’d have to. There’d be no real living going on in that room, I tell you.


How do they do it, those people in the magazines?  Their sofas and chairs are spotless, their kitchens – their entire homes and gardens — are immaculate. There are no books or magazines left behind on a comfy chair, no cushions fallen from the sofa to the floor, no threadbare old carpets, no signs of daily catastrophes in any of their rooms.

How do they do it?

“They don’t,” says my friend. “It’s just for the photos.”

“Then I wish they’d stop,” I replied. “They’ve given me an inferiority complex.”

Blog Photo - Verandah - dogs on old rug


A house can be a showplace, I suppose. But my home – now that’s something else. Though I am all for making a comfortable nest for my family and self, mine is a dwelling that shows the marks of living. By that I mean that items are often out of place, forgotten in one room on the way to another, left there till they become fixtures in their new location.


Blog Photo - Kitchen Pies on Table


I’ve assigned a virtue to my brand of housekeeping. I call it the “lived in” look.  Well, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. My home looks and feels lived in, with books, blankets and cushions comfortably misplaced and eyeglasses and notebooks in any room but the one where I most need them.


An interior decorator told me there’s a big difference between “storage” and “display”. My dining room cupboard was meant for display purposes, he said.

Oh dear.


Blog Photo - Journals


One thing the catastrophes of recent years have done for me: I have shed most of my false pride and pretense. And I’m trying to stamp out the rest.


I don’t worry about impressing anyone. As long as the house is clean, as long as there are fresh sheets and flowers from my garden in the guest room, and people have enough to eat, I’m content. But this attitude of mine didn’t happen overnight. It took years. 

Blog Photo - flowers white daisies in vase


The wisdom that age brings is knowing that we don’t always have to accept what others think, or what they do…especially when we have experience of our own and some commonsense too.


I hope your new year is off to a  good start!



58 thoughts on “Housekeeping Wisdom and Foolishness”

  1. Your post gave me a big smile, Cynthia! And an equally big nod. Many nods, in fact. One for the items on their way to some other room, another to magical merging of display and storage… Here’s to the “lived in” styles and delicious baked pies!

    1. Glad to meet a kindred spirit! You clearly know how it is. and I must confess those particular apple pies were made by my dear husband, but I baked that first cake! It was a miracle, I tell you!

  2. Happy New Year Cynthia, I am glad to be back online and read this. I’m a big fan of the ease maturity brings and love anyone who lauds ‘commonsense’ a previously innate ability that seems to be waning these days – along with taking responsibility…. but that’s a whole other rant 🙂 I love your vase of daisies ❤

  3. Wise indeed! I was especially taken with wanting to shed false pride and pretense. I have been guilty of both, but as I age, both seem to be falling away. Such a relief!

    1. I hear you, sister. I’ve done so many ridiculous, embarrassing things in recent years that you’d think ALL of my false pride would be gone by now, but I’m satisfied that most of it has left the building!

      1. I know just what you mean. My favorite thing is to embarrass myself intellectually by mispronouncing words on a regular basis. My father did the same thing, so I come by it naturally. We don’t even have the excuse of English being our second language, although we aren’t too many degrees removed from French.

  4. I have a sign. ” If you are coming to see me, you are welcome any time. If you are coming to see my house, make an appointment.” Reading your post made me feel so much better about how I live.

  5. Good Afternoon from the USA Cynthia-
    I have not been reading or posting much these days. My life is in caretaker mode. I have parents that now live 20 minutes from me ( after 35 yrs living states away) and aging. I also have a preschool grandson ( living down the street) to help watch these days. I had a few moments before I pick him up and wanted to say, I read your book to him today!
    Yep, I purchased Myrtle the Purple Turtle months ago, but I was waiting for a quiet time where it was just “Sam and me” -lol. No one around and I wanted to make sure he paid attention. He LOVED the book! The illustrations were beautiful + as usual, the story was perfect for him where he attends preschool.
    We live in a city that has a preschool early childhood program which is multicultural. We have parts of our city where we have people from a variety of countries. Many do not speak English, or it is not their native language. When I walk in to pick him up, people are talking in languages I have never heard before, but so glad he is getting this experience at a young age. My husband and I moved here after college to complete his internship in psychology back in the 80’s. I was in the arts and education.
    The book was perfect, and the part about the friends being green, brown, etc. and how they all were unique was perfect for him to read today!!! He loved the part where they helped her turn over from sleeping on her back. How they ALL played after-he loved it! I use to teach preschool children as my second career( I have had several in my lifetime-LOL), but it was a book I wish had in my classroom of little turtles:-)
    Sam gave it a “thumbs up”….yeppers, it is a great book, and each classroom should have one with teachers reading it to them!!!!!!!
    Have to dash to pick him up and hope to read it again:-)

    1. Hooray! what a great response to the book, Robbie! Thanks ever so much. I’m glad you read Myrtle to Sam and that he liked it. Thanks for explaining about where Sam goes to school and why the book has extra meaning– I can see that. And thanks for the review of Myrtle. I love it!

      Happy new year to you and Sam and your family. You made my day!

  6. So I have REAL friends with a REAL white sofa:). I thought they were just for magazines also–but they took the plunge! And have children/pets. I’ll let you know in six months (wink, wink).

  7. Clutter versus lived-in. I have piles of “works in progress”, some more enticing than others… Then there is the “procrastination room” which contains all the objects that we will get around to some day… but for today…

  8. I swing wildly between loving my comfortable house, where things are made and books are read and everything is left out and around and at hand, and feeling slightly uneasy about the mess and all the *stuff*. I did just buy a Roomba–the little robot vacuum cleaner–and I LOVE her!

    1. I’m much the same, Kerry. And I have often wished for one of those Roombas, especially on painful days. My friend has one, and I could sit and watch it at work for long minutes!

  9. I agree with you Cynthia when you write “My home looks and feels lived in”It has to be a place where we live and not a place for exhibition. A house must be a living and welcoming place.
    Love ❤

  10. I too struggle with walking into friends homes and it looks like they have no children and they don’t live there. I’m always envious and think how do they do it, where do they find the time etc. However, most people who come to our home comment on how “warm” our house is. I’ve been told this many times from new visitors. Recently my 28 year old niece commented on how she wished she had my talent for making a house feel warm and homey. So I guess I can say my sometimes messy home reflects the warmth of family from within. That’s MY story and I’m sticking to it 🙂

  11. I am so with you on this one, Cynthia. “Lived-in” is the look. Every time I look at a home-oriented magazine, I think to write them with the challenge of devoting one issue to home design for people who actually have pets. Imagine all that open kitchen shelving they show in a house with multiple cats – or shedding dogs! Yech! Here’s to housekeeping wisdom! (And that’s a fab-looking dessert up top!)

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