Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Are you radical?

I was talking to our mom the other day and she shared with me an article from the Omaha World Herald about a "radical" movement back to traditional homemaking. (She also shared it with the rest of the daughters.) We sort of laughed---we didn't know we were "radical". Slightly weird maybe, but not radical. We've been doing most of what we do for years and years now. Glad to find out we're already on the cutting edge of a "revolution quietly taking hold across the United States". Here

Here's a little blurb from a portion of that article, entitled "Radical Notion: traditional homemaking".
Shannon Hayes offered these suggestions for making homemaking more radical:
  • Hang laundry out to dry.
  • Dedicate part of the lawn to a vegetable garden.
  • Get to know neighbors so you can cooperate to reduce spending.
  • Shop at a farmers market each week before heading to the grocery store.
  • Donate things you don’t need to help others save money and resources.
  • Have reusable bags with you on all shopping trips.
  • Learn how to preserve one local food item for the winter.
  • Get your family to agree to spend more evenings at home, preferably with the TV off.
  • Cook for the family.
  • Focus on enjoying what you have and whom you get to share it with rather than on what you want or think you need.
I don't do everything on the above list, but we do a good portion of them. Apart from those Emily raises chickens. My husband & kids hunt and we process our own venison. We all know how to make our own clothes. Earlier this week I canned 21 qts. of peaches that my friend Mary Ann brought back from Idaho. That was my "radical" moment this week.

So anyway, that got me thinking: what "radical" homemaking skill or activity have your incorporated into your life? I'd love to hear what other "radical" homemakers are doing. We know you're out there...we've seen you quietly in scrap quilters, refashionistas, thrift store junkies. Let us know what you're doing to further the revolution.


  1. I can honestly say my family and I do 5 of those items you have listed. I like the term "radical" because that is definitely me. I love to shop the second hand stores, I make quilts for gifts, home, family. I can fruits and hopefully will start canning veggies next year. It feels wonderful to get back to "family" and quality of life. For to long it's been about quantity and it's great to see the change in others.

  2. guess i'm radical too! haha

    i've been repurposing fabric for jewelry making.

  3. I use my cloth grocery bags (although I was better in PA - I keep forgetting here) and I buy almost all my books used. This fall I'm going to take up canning vegetable soup.

  4. I guess I'm radical too, though that seems like an odd way to describe homemakers.

    Freezing, canning, hang drying, sewing, quilting, reusing, thrifting are a way of life for me.

    The most important two on the list though are the third last and the last ones.

    And then you could add, spend time with God's Word everyday.

  5. I will always love the saying your mom always said & mine adopted, "Use it up, wear it out; Make due or do without"

    I've started sewing more clothes for my kids. Mostly dresses. With 3 girls, it adds up.

    I make a sack lunch for my 3 school age kids every day. That's radical in my community b/c hot lunch is available; but just too expensive for 3 kids to eat it 5x a week @ $2.50/lunch per kid.

    At least they didn't call us radical vitriol . . . ;)

  6. I would love to do everything on that list, but the way things are right now i'm only doing a few. Canning fruit (I've been doing this since I was 6) can vegetables, scrap quilt maker, and on occasion I go on an adventure to the farmers market. That place is so cool.

  7. Oh yeah, I'm radical! My husband and I joined a CSA co-op this year, and as a result have saved over $600 on our grocery bills in the last 5 months. I've learned how to pickle, and have put up everything from cucumber pickles to salsa, spaghetti sauce to relishes.

    I'm a scrap quilter, too. I use everything bigger than 1" square.

    Oh, and I make my own soap--two big batches lasts me a year, and only costs me about $12 in materials.

  8. How nice to be a radical! I don't do ALL of these things, but quilting is in my blood, make skirts for my girls to play around in and cook yummy meals for my family every day...well almost. :) It's sad that this is a revolution, but better to shift the tide than drift along. Keep it up Ladies!!

    Christene from

  9. OOO, I'm a radical!! And I thought I was just one of those stay-at-home mom's who's wasting her college education by staying home with her kids (tsk, tsk!). I used to hang my clothes out, but we moved and the new home doesn't have a clothesline (YET!). We did have our own garden this year, so I've learned to can and pickle and dry stuff. I almost always make our meals from scratch, and make all our breads, pizzas, etc, from scratch too. I sew - not because I love it - but because I HATE the short and seductive/trashy clothing most places sell for little girls. That, and we mostly wear skirts (they're cuter! and more feminine!) and it is HARD to find decent (as in "below the knee") skirts anymore.

    (Delurking because this subject was just too fun to not comment on!) :)

    We have reusable shopping bags - and reuse the plastic bags for small trash bags.

    OH! and we homeschool! I almost forgot that one! And since my kids are a few years younger than my sisters', we get a lot of hand-me-down school materials (and clothing, etc).

    We DON'T put our kids in a lot of extra-curricular activities, nor do we do lots of play dates, or shopping trips. The chilldren learn to do household and yard chores (my husband says I'm supposed to work myself out of a job, training them), and they learn to help with the smaller kids and get along with each other.

    I think the most "radical" thing about being a homemaker today is the fact that we actually focus on the home and the family as being something important - more important than activities, or individual improvement/advancement (at a certain age, that does become important, but in the early years, establishing the importance of family and home and buidling those up keeps the self-improvement in focus).

    I fought for a long time with feeling like I wasn't "doing anything" because all I did was "just" stay home with my kids. But it's been almost 9 years since I quit the "work force", and I have really come to see how truly wonderful the work I GET to do is, and how great an impact it has on my children for me to be home with them, and how much it blesses my husband that his wife is willing to put the care of his home and his family first her life.

  10. I've never thought of myself being radical. Interesting word to describe what a lot of us do normally.
    But I guess I am radical, :)
    I do a lot of those of the list. I dry fruit instead of can it, I need to learn how to can though.

    One thing I have always done is hang my clothes to dry. Not all of them but most. I started out because I hated the way my favorite things would fit and then would shrink in the dryer.
    Now I do it because it's so fast. I hang out clothes on hangers on hooks from our patio cover, towels on the line and they dry in record time when our temps are 90 or above.

  11. Is that radical? Most of the things on that list I consider to be normal. And so do most of the people I know. But maybe that's a cultural thing (I'm in Holland). Oh, and things that I do that aren't on the list and might make me even more 'radical': I make my own bread, knead by hand and bake it in the oven, I breastfed all my little ones for over 1,5 years, I sew my own clothes. I guess there will always be more to come up with. Am I a freak now? ;-)

    By the way, if cooking for the family is considered radical (which is weird to me, because most people I know peel their own potatoes for their family every night (or make something else, ofcourse)), what DO people eat then? Do they go out to a restaurant every night? Or do they eat pizza and fries every time? Now THAT sounds weird to me :D

  12. I wish I had more radical friends then. Right now I don't work. I am however going to college taking two classes but I have friends who make me feel like I'm the freak because I knit, quilt, cook, garden and spin my own yarn occasionally. Like I'm the weirdo because I don't know who got the boot on Dancing With the Stars or who is still on American Idol. Like I'm a magician for finding time to do what I love? Even when I was working I found time to do these things. Viva the radicals.



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