Young couple buying a new house

Image Credit: Istockphoto.com

Regardless of who you are, you need a place to live. Some of us live in apartments or rent houses. Some of us own our homes. Some of us are in transition moving from our current home to someplace else. If you are in transition you may need to buy or sell a home. Not all of us have the same idea about the perfect “dream home” and that’s ok. We are unique individuals and need to find the best living situation for us and our families. This week Dewey Hop is still in the 640’s, Home and Family Management. In particular this time we are discussing Housing and Household Equipment.

Where you live is a very personal decision which brings many factors into consideration. Can you afford to buy a new home, have one built, or buy a fixer upper and then finance the renovations? The area you aspire to live in can affect overall cost. If you’re like me, this can be an overwhelming process. Where do you even begin? Fortunately, I found a book you will find helpful if you are in the process of buying a home.

20 Questions

Image Credit: Goodreads

This book will walk you through basic questions which should be considered before buying a home such as are you ready to buy a home? What kind of shape are your finances and credit in? Should you build a home rather than buy an existing one? Is your lifestyle right for home ownership? There are many more questions and explanations presented in this highly recommended book which of course I won’t have time to cover in just one post. I would recommend this book whether this is your first home buyer experience or you’ve bought several homes.

If, like my sister just did, you have bought a new home but must sell an old one there are books to help with this as well. A proven thing to practice to help your old home sell is to stage it. Staging helps potential buyers visualize how space inside the home can be used. Staging is usually done by employing minimalist strategies and using a few strategically positioned objects. A great book to help with this is:

Home Staging

Image Credit: Amazon.com

Of course how well you have maintained your older home will make a big difference to potential buyers. Have you kept up with household maintenance? Have you made improvements to the home? Whether you are buying or selling these are important questions to ask. 

Is the home you are interested in in good shape? Will it require repairs or renovations? Have you budgeted for these types of costs? Will you have all the renovations done before your move in date? Will you move into the house and live in it while the renovations are ongoing? 

If, like me, you have bought a fixer upper, can you do any of the renovating yourself or will you have to hire a contractor? There are many books to address this sort of project. Two recent ones I’ve found are:

Dream Home

Image Credit: Thriftbooks

This Old House

Image Credit: Amazon.com

Many of these types of books are adult picture books. They are great to look at, but I am unable to show you the pictures in all of the books. Again this is a very personal process. You must choose the projects / renovations that are right for you and your family. Fortunately regardless of what projects you need to work on, there are many books and resources to help you through the process.

Have you recently bought a home? Are you in the market for a new home? If you are already a home owner please feel free to share any of your experiences in this process in the comments section.



Paper New Year's

Image Credit: Google

Let’s face it. Most of us are going to be more than happy to say goodbye to 2020.  We may not get to have the usual big celebration to usher out the old year and welcome in the new year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate in style.  The library read through has brought us to a section called Meals and Table Service. The modern word for table service is “tablescape.” This post examines how to build an attractive table for your guests. What great timing for this post with New Year’s Eve right around the corner.

Tablescapes can be really fancy using china and expensive dishes,

New Years Eve Expensive China

Image Credit: Pinterest

fairly informal yet stunning using paper products

New Year's Eve Paper Decorations

Image Credit: Oriental Trading

and plastic pieces (as in the first image and the one above) or anything in between.

new years clock tablescape

The types of books in this section of the library are again they type in which you can “read the pictures.” Unfortunately I can’t reproduce all the pictures for you. I can only show you some of the books I’ve checked out this time and encourage you to check out these or similar types of books. 

The Hassle-free Host

Image Credit: Thrift Books

Do it for Less Parties

Image Credit: Amazon.com

Step by Step Napkin Folds

Image Credit: AbeBooks.com

If you’re having an extremely formal affair, you may have your meal served to your guests. Many parties use a sort of potluck approach in which the tablescape is made and the food is presented potluck style on another table. There are infinite variations to this approach, but suffice it to say the food itself forms a tablescape on a different table or tables. 

Being a practical sort, my overall advice (along with what I’ve gleaned from countless hours of pouring over pictures of tablescapes) is that you want your party to be attractive without a lot of extra work. You will want to be able to concentrate on your guests when they arrive. Choose simple yet elegant party decorations. I personally would probably use a mix of paper and plastic table service pieces (easy to obtain and set up, easier clean up, and not too hard on the budget). Whatever you use, the decorations should set the tone. Often a simple table runner down the center of the table with a few event appropriate decorations will serve nicely without detracting from the actual serving pieces you use.

New Year's Eve Table Runner

Image Credit: Pinterest

Do you entertain for New Year’s Eve or any other event? What is your favored tablescape style?


Food and Drink


Image Credit: Google

Moving through the library I’ve now read myself into the 641 section. Now I have a problem. You see this is the Food and Drink section and contains literally hundreds of cookbooks. Cookbooks are on on both sides of the aisle and go all the way down to the back wall.

Cookbook Aisle

Image Credit: Feisty Froggy

I LOVE cookbooks. I love cooking and I love eating healthy foods. My problem is I want to read all the cookbooks, and try all of the recipes. I could probably stop my read through right here and be content for the rest of eternity with the cookbooks. Unfortunately I can’t do that because Dewey Hop readers are interested in all kinds of topics and the library Director, Greta Grasshopper (She was promoted since we first met her in the blog post Reference and Information Window.),

Greta Grasshopper

Image Credit: Unknown

would eventually notice I wasn’t doing my job writing the Dewey Hop blog. Greta likes to keep things hopping around here so my retirement to the cookbook section is not an option. Therefore my dilemma is how to choose only a few books?

I wish that I could get all the Dewey Hop readers from all over the world together and assign each one a cookbook and a large budget (well I can dream). Each reader would be required to make one representative dish from their assigned book (more if they chose to) and then we would get together and have a huge potluck. All attendees would be given representative meals in freezable containers to take home and everyone’s freezers would fill up with multiple precooked meals.

Alas, my only course of action will have to be to show some of the current cookbooks I have checked out and just encourage all Dewey Hop readers to check out the cookbook section for themselves. The last two impressive cookbooks I checked out were:

Cookin Up Country Breakfasts

Best Lost Suppers

Image Credits: Thrift Books and Amazon

What you cook and eat is a highly personal choice. I recommend eating a healthy and balanced diet whether you are a carnivore or a herbivore or anything in between. Eat foods as close to the original source as possible and I am confident your health will benefit. If you choose to know more you can read all about it in the Food and Drink Section of the library. Food can treat and reverse a number of human maladies if used properly – but that’s a subject for another day. Until then, bon appetit!

Do you enjoy cooking? Do you have any favorite recipes to share? Do you try new foods and/or recipes?

The American Potluck

Potluck 2

Image Credit: Simple, Good, and Tasty

The Greeks are credited with putting potluck meals into practice. The potluck practice itself is Greek although the word “potluck” is American. The Greeks would slowly cook meals and bring them to a centralized location after planting and harvesting were finished. They would make meals with various combinations of vegetables, grains, meats, potatoes, beans, and rice. Today we enjoy these same types of meals which we call casseroles. The word “casserole” derives from the Greek kyathion, the Latin cottia, and the old French casse. Casseroles are baked and served in the same container or dish and are easily transported. Because of their convenience casseroles are quite popular at potluck meals even today. Potlucks provide a way to share food and provide fun social gatherings.  The Greeks valued social interactions as much as the food and as Americans so do we.


Image Credit: Ideal Me

The first traceable potluck meal in the  (now) US dates back to the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth Colony. As time moved on modern foods such as canned soups produced by the Campbell Soup Company made casserole and potluck history. Campbell’s ads proclaimed the ease of making casseroles by simply adding a can or two of soup to various foods to make dinners easy on busy American homemakers.

Clarence Birdseye II

Image Credit: Daily Telegraph

In 1924 a man named Clarence Birdseye II began producing frozen fish and then frozen vegetables. They were a huge hit. Now  meat and vegetables were handy at  any time of the year even when vegetables were out of season.  When the frozen food was thawed it looked, tasted, and smelled just like the fresh food. The American homemaker could now rely on staples in her pantry and freezer.  Meal planning became much easier and faster. The time to cook a meal was reduced from hours to minutes. Clarence Birdseye II became known as the pioneer of frozen foods while producing his Birds Eye brand of frozen foods. Birds Eye products can still be found in almost every supermarket and is known world wide. Though I don’t have time to go into Birdseye’s complete story, he also made significant contributions to the fields of taxidermy, agriculture,  fishing,  manufacturing, and veterinary science.

Because of the changing nature of food storage in cans and freezers block parties and potlucks became quite popular especially during World War II. This was a simple way to share food not to mention that for the first time many American women began working outside of  their homes. For this reason potlucks could also save time. Women could work during the day and attend potlucks in the evenings without a lot of extra work. It wasn’t long before potluck style meals were used at fancy parties, homey gatherings, family reunions, and holiday celebrations just to name few examples. Potlucks remain quite popular at any event in which a large number of people need to be fed. 

Reading through the library has brought me to the 641 section, Food and Drink. For this post I have relied heavily on:

The Potluck Cookbook

Other books I checked out but don’t have time to comment on are:

The New American Heart Association CookbookHealthy Fats, Low Cholesteral Cookbook$3 MealsSmoking Food

What was the last potluck you went to? Have you ever hosted a potluck? Feel free to leave comments about your potluck experiences.


Emergency Food and Supplies

Emergency food supply

Image Credit: Pinterest

Reading through the library has landed me in the Food and Drink (641) section.  There are so many interesting food related topics that it’s going to be difficult for me to narrow this section down to just a few posts. Given the recent pandemic due to the COVID 19 virus, I felt this topic was worth revisiting. Dewey Hop previously touched on emergency food in an earlier post called Natural Disasters. It’s not just natural disasters though that present the need for emergency food.

Food and supplies were sometimes difficult to obtain for many people and forced some families to go hungry during the pandemic lockdown. Others had emergency stockpiles and had no food or supply worries whatsoever. Many people fell somewhere in the middle of these extremes. The good news is that it’s never too late to start an emergency stockpile for your family or just yourself if you live alone. If nothing else the pandemic should have highlighted the need to plan ahead. It will be an investment but you don’t have to do it all at once. Start now. Anything is better than nothing.

The first step in establishing an emergency food supply is deciding where you will keep it. While it should be out of the way it should also be easily accessible. Some popular storage areas are basements,

Basement Food Supply

Image Credit: http://mcmackinsnewgroove.blogspot.com/

garages (although consider this carefully if there are extreme climate changes in your area),

Garage food supply

Image Credit: Pinterest

and spare rooms.

Spare Room Storage

Image Credit: The Prepper Journal

If you don’t have that kind of space, don’t worry. There are still plenty of things you can do to store your food and supply stash although you may have to spread it out to various locations around your home. Consider using furniture storage pieces. For example, you could use an ottoman or coffee table that has storage space in which food could be easily stored.

coffee table storage

Image Credit: Pinterest

Hide food and supplies under furniture such as beds, couches, and mattresses. This can be accomplished by using a slider as shown below or even small totes that are easily accessible.

Food under bed

Image Credit: Survivalist Prepper

Under Couch Food Storage

Image Credit: Skilled Survivor

Couch Storage

Image Credit: Pinterest

Mattress storage

Image Credit: Addicted to DIY

It is possible to store enough food for one year under a twin bed. Storing food under every bed means having enough food for your entire family for a year.

Look around your home at furniture you already have to see if it can be repurposed for emergency food storage.

Small closets make great storage spaces.

Small Food Prep Closet

Image Credit: Pinterest

Decorative baskets or containers can be used above kitchen or laundry room cabinets and filled with food and supplies. Find creative ways to store food up to ceiling height. For example some people collect cookie jars. Those jars could be displayed over cabinets –or where ever-but contain items like freeze dried meals, dehydrated flavor packets, spice bottles, and any other nonperishable food items that will fit inside them. This works best for cookie jars that conceal their contents.

Storage above kitchen cabinets

Image Credit: Pinterest

Some people who have small homes invest in a shed where they can store emergency food supplies (again consider carefully if there are extreme climate changes in your area). Others rent climate controlled storage units to store their emergency food supply. These two methods have both pros and cons to them. Unless you actually have a shed on your property you may have difficulty reaching your food source if you are unable to leave your home. Some survivalists recommend having both a food stash at home and offsite which can double your chances of survival depending on the circumstances. Still another option is to store at least a 72 hour food supply in your vehicle in a small tote. Freeze dried meals lend themselves well to this situation.

Knowing where you will store extra food  and being organized makes it easier to start building your stockpile. It’s important to note that you will need different types of foods for different situations such as sheltering in place (as during the pandemic) or bug out situations which may be caused by natural disasters or some other situation forcing you to leave your home. Bug out situations are covered in depth in the Natural Disasters blog post. For now I will just briefly mention that you need to  have 72 hours worth of food (per family member including pets) for your bug out plan. It is suggested that you use Mylar water bags  and freeze dried meals along with protein survival bars (light weight and easier to carry). An additional benefit of freeze dried meals is that you won’t have to remember to check expiration dates every 6 months since they can last up to 20 years.

For sheltering in place scenarios you will need to have at least a 3 month supply of extra food. Many survivalists recommend having a year’s supply of extra food.

The next step in creating an emergency food stock pile is knowing how you will store it in your designated area or areas. For the larger areas use industrial strength shelving which is bolted in place if at all possible. You don’t want flimsy shelving that may come crashing down after you’ve added a lot of weight. Not only  could you ruin your food but it’s a safety issue. Having heavy cans fall on you or a member of your family could have disastrous consequences.

There are all types of can racks.

Can Rack

Image Credit: Amazon

Can Rack 3

Image Credit: Amazon

Can bank

Image Credit: Pinterest

You might try racks like the ones above or some other system. The most important thing is that however you store your food you will want to easily be able to put the freshest food in the back and have food rotate forward if you remove a can.  You could take wire shelving units and hang them at an angle upside down to create the same effect. Be aware of weight limits on this type of system and be sure the shelves are properly reinforced.

Upside Down Wire Shelving

Image Credit: From House to Home

Additionally you will need areas of shelving for all the other types of foods and supplies you will want to store.

Prepper Shelving

Image Credit: Pinterest

Food Shelving

Image Credit: Pinterest

If your long term storage will include totes or 5 gallon buckets you can also create reliable shelving by filling buckets and totes of the same size with heavy staples and laying a board over the top of them to create storage. This is a good option if you have no woodworking skills. Items in these buckets would need to have duplicates elsewhere since by piling things on top of them they won’t be immediately accessible.

Some books that I checked out that will help you with your long term food storage planning are:

Store This Not That

Image Credit: Amazon

Food Storage for Self Sufficiency and Survival

Image Credit: Amazon

The DIY Pantry

Image Credit: Amazon

For this post I have drawn heavily on these three books summarizing much of the information they contain, but I highly recommend reading these books in order to prepare for your long term food storage needs. These books go into so much more detail than I can in one post.

Sheltering at home lends itself well to heat and eat meals, canned and prepackaged meals can include things like soup, chili, stew, ravioli, fruits, cup o’ noodles, canned chicken salad, crackers, soup mixes, complete meals in a box or a jar (which you can make yourself and just add liquid ingredients),

Meals in Jars

Image Credit: Pinterest

oatmeal, cereal, and snacks. For a three month supply you will need 55 gallons of water for each family member including pets.

If you still have running water and electricity you will be able to cook as normal. However if you are unable to cook with your appliances you will need another heat/cooking source. Charcoal grills lend themselves to this task quite nicely. You will need to store charcoal, lighter fluid, lighters, and matches as some of your supplies. Propane gas grills will also work as long as you’ve stored plenty of propane canisters.

For sheltering at home, don’t neglect your freezer as a long term food storage source. This works great as long as there is electricity. It’s a good idea to invest in a generator to protect your frozen investments. Some people keep extra freezers either in their basements or garages to help with the frozen food storage.  Freezers can be bought second hand fairly inexpensively and work great for this sort of preparedness.

The third step in prepping for your emergency food supply is knowing what you actually need. There are commercially prepared emergency food supplies that can be purchased. Some are better than others. Do your research. From what I’ve read many nutritionists recommend against these types of products. Their serving sizes are not always true representatives of how much food you actually need in a meal. Many of them must be combined with other items in order to meet nutritional necessities for you to remain healthy. The need to combine ingredients to get one healthy meal means you cannot rely on their serving size information to plan the number of meals you can create with your supplies. My personal recommendation is for you to use food items as close to the original source as possible. The following are recommendations gleaned from books listed above.

Start with the basics:

Five Gallon Grains

Image Credit: Pinterest

400 lbs combination of grains:  wheat, rice (of various types), corn, barley,  whole grain pasta (all types), cornmeal, and popcorn. Some recommended amounts follow:

60 lbs of dry beans – any kind but it’s best to have a variety

60 lbs each of sugar and honey

12 lbs non-instant powdered milk and egg powder

23 quarts each of oil, shortening, and peanut butter

5 lbs of salt

1 lb  each of baking powder and baking soda

2 lbs of yeast

Then add 6.5 – 7.5 lbs  of:

Vegetables: potatoes, corn, onions, celery, carrots, tomatoes, any other type you can find

Fruits: any kind

Meats – Freeze dried and canned (pepperoni, ham, chicken, tuna, bacon, diced ham, and sausage)

Dairy: Eggs, Cheese, etc as needed (this assumes you will have electrity) or you can use egg and cheese powders. If you live on a farm you may be able to get your eggs from your chickens.

Baking needs: yeast, sugar and/or molasses, honey, flour, and lots of vanilla

Treat mixes (these can be homemade in a jar or store bought mixes), prepackaged snacks such as chips, cookies, puddings, cakes, etc.

Misc: Sauces (store bought or homemade and properly canned) like spaghetti, alfredo, gravies,  tomato (sauce and paste), broths, etc.

dehydrated mixes for gravy, taco seasoning, meatloaf seasonings, etc.

Spices: A wide variety is good and they should be protected in containers like totes or buckets.

LOTS of water: This can be water straight from your tap as long as you store it in properly sterilized containers. Soda and juice bottles are ok to reuse after proper sterilization (look up on the internet). Milk and juice jugs are not usually recommended as they can develop leaks pretty easily.

More water: Pre-bottled water with added electrolytes will help the body to maintain proper nutrients and help prevent diarrhea. If you like you can store flavored packets for water to help give some taste variety. Gator Aid is also a good bottled beverage to have on hand.

Pet Food: Cats need approximately 3 gallons of water per week  and stocked food. Small dogs will need 6 gallons of water per week and stocked food. Large dogs can use up to 18 gallons of water per week and stocked food.

Be sure to also stock supplies like paper and disposable products of all kinds including paper plates and napkins, plastic silverware, feminine supplies, medicines – prescription and over the counter, vitamins, personal hygiene products, hair products, soaps, laundry supplies, flea and tick medications, flea sprays, dog and cat shampoos, trash bags, baggies, etc. Just think about the products you and your family use on a regular basis and stock as many as you can.

Lastly, you will need to know about proper storage placement. Rule number one is get it up off the floor. Start with a pallet to begin building your bottom layer. Alternately shelving with “legs” that raises the bottom shelf will help you keep your food off the floor. If you absolutely must start at floor level, use waterproof containers such as 5 gallon buckets and totes. You don’t want to risk water damage either from flooding or something like a water heater leaking. Notice in stores how they keep food up off of the floor and copy those methods if possible. An added benefit to putting things in watertight containers is that it will keep insects and rodents out of your food. After determining the arrangement of your bottom layer you will be able to build up.

Dry pet food should be stored in  original bags inside totes or buckets with lids as well as anything else that is bagged. Buckets and totes can also be stacked up safely but try to stack by type of food item so that you have access to what you want and be sure to label everything. You can put multiple items in one container. For instance, you could put all the ingredients together in a tote for a particular meal. Write the contents on the inside of the lid to make sure you have everything you need and label the meal on the outside of the container (example: spaghetti meal). Some preppers like to put meal ingredients like this together so they can tell exactly how many meals they have. Another example is to put all sorts of spice bottles/containers together in a bucket.  Be imaginative and do what will work best for your cooking style.

Once you are ready to start building your stockpile, have fun! Accomplish your goals slowly and steadily with a lot of thoughtfulness. Try building a food supply for 30 days, then increase it to 3 months etc. until you reach up to at least a year’s supply. Take advantage of store sales, coupons, buy one get one deals, etc. and your supply will begin to grow. Buy items in bulk and store the extra things you don’t need right away. If you don’t live on a farm or can’t garden where you live, buy fresh fruits and veggies from your local produce store and learn to can them. You can reuse glass jars from pickles, relish, and other items to store smaller servings of grains, beans, legumes, prepared meals, etc. Just be sure that before reuse the jars are properly cleaned and completely dry before they are repurposed.

Do you need to start an emergency food supply or have you already started one? Do you have other ideas of how to accomplish the goal of long term food storage?

Five and Dimes

Image Credit: Pinterest

As the read through the library continues, I have reached a section that has many topics that I just love. It is so hard to only choose a few books to share. The Family and Home Management section has many books which deal with actual family management such as schedules, getting everyone fed, finding the balance between home life and work life, cleaning,  having a well organized home, saving money on family budgets, and so much more.  These are the books I’ve checked out this time:

While I won’t have the time or space to explore all of these books in depth, I will discuss a few of my favorites from this grouping. My favorite book from this grouping is 99c Solutions, a Reader’s Digest book. This book can be read in several ways. It can be used as a reference book to find solutions (by using products for other than their intended use to solve problems),  it can be read by reading particular components of each chapter and learning history or trivia. It can also be used to research things like the origins of products,  producers,  and in some cases people.

Inside Woolworth's

Creatively modeled on store aisles, the chapters in 99c Solutions are called Aisles 1-8. Each aisle contains the groupings of groceries, health and beauty, gardening and outdoors, cleaning and home supplies, housewares, notions, school and party supplies, and tools. The “store” model for this book is based on the old five and dime stores such as Woolworth’s, McCrory’s, and Ben Franklin. Published in 2010 I thought 99c Solutions might be a bit dated and the solutions more expensive. Happily I was wrong. With the advent of dollar stores, this book is still quite relevant (ok so it might be a penny more expensive). This book can save the reader time, money, and work.

I love everything about 99c Solutions from the solutions to the format.  Each aisle is laid out in a particular order to make items easy to find. Using Aisle 2, Health and Beauty, as an example each aisle introduces the types of name brand products you can find at dollar stores and hints at other uses those products might serve; a cotton ball can be used to start campfires or toothpaste can be used to fight pimples.

Bubble Bath

 Solutions are always listed alphabetically. Several solutions are given per aisle and most items have more than one solution. Bubble bath can be used to wash and shine your vehicle, to replace hand soap, or to wash the leaves of your houseplants and give them a healthy shine. Calamine lotion can be used to soothe heat rash, hives, and blisters as well used for Halloween make up. In Aisle 2 there are 38 products listed with multiple uses per product.

As one advances through the aisle there are items creatively on display with photographs or illustrations. In Aisle 2 we find displays of antacid, Johnson’s Baby Powder, bath oil, cotton swabs, emery boards, conditioner with lanolin, and hydrogen peroxide. Each display item touts a use distinct from it’s original purpose. For example the bath oil display says it can be used to keep patent leather shoes looking sharp. Just moisten a clean soft cloth with a few drops of the oil and gently rub a little onto your patent leather shoes. The illustrations throughout the aisles remind the shopper how much money can be saved by buying cheap multiple use products.

Johnson's Baby Pure Cornstarch Powder

Image Credit: Google

Throughout the aisle are informational blocks  called “Who Knew?” which seem remarkably up to date. The informational blocks give some interesting trivia and history about various products which may or may not be on display nearby.  For example Johnson’s Baby Power was originally invented to coat self adhesive bandages, prevent skin irritations, and keep covered skin comfortable. Later there was curiosity about whether talc could be used for other purposes. In 1893 Johnson’s Baby Powder, which was made with talc, was marketed in metal tins. After the invention of plastic bottles Johnson’s Baby Powder has been in a plastic bottle as we know it today. The informational block goes on to say that many pediatricians recommend against the use of talc now. Johnson’s now makes a cornstarch based formula.

Additionally in every aisle there are histories of particular brand names. Each history is two pages long and both pages are visible at once. In Aisle 2 the histories of Bayer Aspirin, hydrogen peroxide, and mouthwash are given. The histories all contain the product in an original form, people using the product, or early ads for a product.

Pond's Cold Cream

Aisle 2 also contains two sections called “The Story Behind…” and gives a brief story behind a particular product and includes an early ad along with a photo of the original product. In the case of Pond’s Cold Cream a pharmacist from Utica, New York observed Native Americans treating small cuts and various ailments with witch hazel tea. The pharmacist, Theron T. Pond, founded the T. T. Pond Company and extracted witch hazel from a plant to produce a healing cream called Golden Treasure which was later renamed Pond’s Extract. This was the first commercial use of witch hazel. Pond’s Cold Cream, specifically made for the face with witch hazel was introduced in 1905. Although cold cream has been around since ancient times, Pond’s marketing soon made his cold cream the brand to have.

Every aisle also has two brief sections called “Way Back When…” In Aisle 2 these sections are titled “The Ballpoint Pen Inspired Ban Roll On” and “Lipstick.” These sections are one paragraph long and very interesting. There are also two two page sections called “A Different Solution” which lists multiple other uses for select products. In Aisle 2 there are 10 more uses for hair spray and 7 more uses for toothpaste.

Woolworth's Lunch Counter

Image Credit: Pinterest

With 99c Solutions being modeled on the five and dime stores of yesteryear, it would not be complete without mentioning the lunch counters found in stores such as Woolworth’s. After Aisle 8 there is a  “Daily Special” section called “Lunch Counter Legends” complete with several pages of recipes for the types of food and treats served at the lunch counter. The recipes include soups, “blue plate specials,” sandwiches, sides, and of course desserts which include pies, pudding, cake, and cookies. To rinse down all of these delicious foods the customer could order coffee, milkshakes, and soda fountain drinks which included such concoctions as chocolate egg cream, lime rickey, and root beer and other types of  floats.  A section called “The Float Family” gives basic recipes for Root Beer Floats, Brown Cow, Coke Floats, Purple Cow, and Sherbet Floats.

As in the Aisles there are “The Story Behind…” sections. At the lunch counter there are stories behind Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, Chocolate Egg Cream, and Jell-O Pudding Mixes. There are “Who Knew?” blocks that discuss Gorton’s Fish Cakes and applesauce. Also included is a “Way Back When..” section that gives a brief history about Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs. 

Frank Winfield Woolworth

Frank Winfield Woolworth

Image Credit: Alchetron

A larger two page section called “A Snapshot in Time…” gives historical facts about the famous Woolworth’s lunch counters. At one time America’s shopping districts were often dominated by one large general store which oftentimes was a Woolworth’s. When a dry goods worker named Frank Winfield Woolworth opened shop in Utica, New York in 1870, the Woolworth’s store was born. The first Woolworth’s to open struggled but that didn’t stop Frank from opening a second Woolworth’s in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This second store thrived.

Before the opening of Woolworth’s when Americans shopped at a general store they had to go to a store clerk and ask for what they wanted since all goods were kept behind a counter. Frank revolutionized the American shopping experience by allowing his customers to handle the merchandise and allowing them to collect the things they wanted to buy. Woolworth’s became the first store ever to allow this type of shopping. Customers loved the idea as evidenced by the way the store was thriving.

Woolworth's Ad. QNS

About this time Frank had another idea. He believed everything in his stores should be affordable. Everything at Woolworth’s was originally priced at 5 or 10 cents. Because of these two major changes made by Woolworth’s the stores became known as “five-and-dime stores.”  (Later prices rose with inflation but  still remained affordable to the average person. However the terms “five and dime” or “dime store” were still used to describe any store similar to Woolworth’s.) Revolutionary new ways of doing business made Woolworth’s stores destination shopping places. Customers could spend large blocks of time browsing in the stores. Woolworth’s stores spread across the country.

Woolworth's Menu

Image credit: Pinterest

The longer customers stayed in the stores the more likely they were to get hungry. Woolworth’s began opening lunch counters during a time when most people still ate at home. Shopping with children became easier since they loved going to the pet department and then having lunch at the counter. This is when Americans began to “eat on the go.” Almost everything on the lunch counter menu was less than 50 cents which made the lunches affordable. A customer could order a sandwich, a milkshake, and a piece of pie for around 85 cents. Working people soon realized that they too could eat lunch at Woolworth’s without breaking their budget. Teenagers began taking dates to Woolworth’s where they usually shared fries and  and Cokes made with syrup and seltzer. Grandparents could afford to take their grandchildren to Woolworth’s for treats. Sundaes and Banana Splits were served with traditional balloons. Some balloons were called “Lucky Balloons.”  To discover if their balloon was lucky, children popped the balloons. Lucky balloons had pieces of paper in them that discounted menu items to 1 cent. In effect they were fun coupons. People loved going to Woolworth’s just for the lunch counter. The lunch counters were so popular that some of them were quite large. A lunch counter in Los Angeles was 100 yards long and boasted of being “the longest lunch counter in the world” in 1937.

Employees of lunch counters and diners began to develop their own language. For example if you went to a lunch counter and told the waitress you wanted to order beef stew and crackers she would call back to the cook that she needed “Bossy in a bowl with dog biscuits.” There is a fun page included entitled “Lunch Counter Lingo” along with the “translations.” This is an interesting piece of Americana, indeed.

Since this post has gotten rather lengthy, I will  just briefly mention my 2nd and third picks from this grouping of books. My second pick is Simple Home Solutions (with Martha Stewart). I absolutely love adult picture books that show how to organize just about anything. This is the type of book that you can just “read the pictures” if you wanted to. Usually I “read pictures” with this type of book and then read the words describing anything that really gets my attention. I am living in an old fixer upper house while also renovating it so I am constantly having to juggle things around and find new and unique ways to organize things. Books like these can also serve as an inspiration for new ideas or helping to adapt concepts in practical ways to suit personal needs for storage and organization.

My third pick is Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half with America’s Cheapest Family by Steve and Annette Economides. Also published in 2010 this book is still applicable to today’s shopping. I always joke that I’m really good at “free and cheap.” This book just confirmed that for me! There are great strategies in this book to help anyone save money when grocery and supply shopping. There are several books of this type in existence but what I really liked about this book is that you can take a short quiz to determine your level of ability to shop cheaply. Once you determine your score from the quiz you can find out if you have everything to learn or if you fall into one of three categories: Timid Mouse, Wise Owl, or an Amazing Ant. In my opinion the beginners and Timid Mouse people should read every word of this book. It really will help you save money! Wise Owls and Amazing Ants can probably skim read the book pausing to read carefully any section they feel may help them. At the end of every chapter there are tips for any category to learn from and everyone should read the tips designated for their skill level. Everyone can learn something.


Post Script: A Word of Explanation:

Unfortunately I was going through a time of personal turmoil with multiple deaths in my family and then got locked out of my WordPress account until very recently.  Then the Pandemic hit and things were just weird for awhile with everyone being off work. However the read through the library was still happening. When I first became locked out of the account Dewey Hop was exploring the 390’s, Customs, Etiquette, & Folklore with the last post being  Death Customs. Currently the read through has reached the 640’s. Home and Family Management. For the 250 Numbers in between I will be trying to “fill them in” with shorter posts just to give Dewey Hop readers a taste of what they missed. Be sure to scroll through the old posts occasionally to see if you can discover something you missed or something I’ve slipped in!

400 Language

Sign Language

Image Credit: Dreamstime.com

Moving along in the library read through we come to the 400’s, Language. I’ve been thinking about how to approach this post for some time. I do not have time to go into all of the etymologies of multiple languages and cultures nor is it very interesting to the majority of Dewey Hop readers to just show a bunch of language dictionaries.  So after much thought I’ve decided to just discuss the 400 section itself and language resources available at the Fulton County Public Library  

400 Language

Image Credit: Feisty Froggy

As with the other Dewey Decimal system numbers, patrons find a description on the stacks about what types of books to expect from the books who call the 400 section their home. Like most small community libraries the language section at the Fulton County Public Library isn’t a huge section. Books are constantly being rotated in a library to make room for other books. As it happened on the day these pictures were taken, the 400 section jumped across an aisle. 


400 Language 2

Image Credits: Feisty Froggy

With the exception of academic libraries, I suspect even larger libraries also have a smaller language section in comparison to the rest of their collections. The number of books in any given language section depends on a variety of factors – patron demand, geographical area which may or may not deal with multiple languages, availability of resource books, etc. I suspect the most common reason that public libraries’ language sections are smaller is due to other resources being available. This is certainly true here at the Fulton County Public Library. As shown in the photos above, our library certainly does have language books. Here are a few that I checked out: 

American Sign LanguageEssential Baby Sign LanguageThe Pocket Dictionary of Signing

Image Credits: Thrift Books, Google, and Maxi Aid

Through the Literacy Department  our library assists patrons who are learning and using English as a second language. This is done through multiple avenues such as one on one instruction, online instruction and language resources available through the library’s digital resources.  To access our language digital resources a patron would go to the Fulton County Public Library homepage, click Digital Resources, then click Mango Languages. This service can be used by anyone anywhere logged in as a guest. The most popular languages to learn are Spanish, French, English, Japanese, German, and Korean. In all there are over 70 languages patrons can choose to learn. 

In addition to hard copy books, one on one instruction, and digital resources, the library often schedules live interactive programing for language related topics. Not all languages are spoken or written; some are signed and by far the most popular language program to date has been sign language courses. Most years one or two live sessions (each about 6 weeks long) have been scheduled that patrons can sign up for free of charge to learn sign language. These programs are popular with all ages of patrons. Unfortunately due to the pandemic this year most live programming has had to be cancelled and our Meeting Rooms are currently being put to important use as quarantine areas for all materials coming in to the library.

Are you fluent in a second language? If so how did you learn to speak that language? Are you interested in or do you use sign language?

Etiquette (Manners)

Etiquette Word Cloud

Image Credit: 123RF.com

As far back as the Ancient Egyptians there were writings and teachings that proclaimed virtues such as truthfulness, self-control, and kindness towards others. Such writings often included the ideas of learning by listening to other people, being aware of imperfect humans, and avoiding open conflict with others whenever possible.  A person was to do as God commanded in all things, but there were other prescribed ways of behaving in the presence of military figures, politicians, and religious authorities. Other common instructions taught the correct way to be a leader through kindness, greed is evil and to be avoided, and generosity towards family and friends is praiseworthy.

Other cultures, too, had prescribed or recommended practices that taught people morality, socially correct relationships, justice, and sincerity. By the Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century etiquette had become the means of helping people acquire the polite behaviors, norms, and customs of their culture. The upper classes practiced a type of charm, manners, and demeanor that identified them as a lady or a gentleman. The middle class aspired to be like the upper classes and therefore learned cultural norms by watching and observing.  


Today we can still learn from each other and teach each other polite behavior and practices of etiquette, more commonly known as manners. A society that practices politeness and a prescribed form of manners is considered to be a civilized society. Unfortunately we have only to look around at the state of our country to realize that these lessons have gone unlearned by many.  There is a growing lack of respect for self and others which sets off a whole other sets of problems.  This is why P.M Forni wrote a book called Choosing Civility.

Choosing Civility

Image Credit: Google

In his book, Forni says there are five causes of incivility which are lack of self respect, anonymity, lack of time, and insecurity. 

“Courtesy, politeness, manners, and civility are all forms of awareness. Being civil means constantly being aware of others and weaving restraint, respect, and consideration into the very fabric of awareness.”

P. M. Forni

Forni goes on to say that civility can lead to less violence because civility, which is a form of empathy, helps us to be considerate in almost any situation. The underlying goal of civility is that we are to be respectful of one another.  According to Forni, the core essentials of civility are initiative, respect, uniqueness, peace, orderliness, kindness, courage, joy, and patience. P. M. Forni was fond of quoting Dale Carnegie who said, “Never ever ever ever argue because if you lose you lose and if you win you lose.” 

I have to admit that as I read through Forni’s work and explored some online facts about what he was teaching as civil behavior that I had two recurring thoughts.  The first thought was that the modern random acts of kindness put into practice his ideas. The second thought was that seemingly everything I read could be summarized by what (hopefully) most of us learned in Sunday School: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Jesus). Said another way: Treat people the way you wish they would treat you.

There are numerous books available that discuss etiquette in specific situations such as business practice, social situations, and modern communication.  Other books I checked out that fell into the etiquette category are:
         The Little Book of Wedding Etiquette The Small Talk Handbook

Miss Manners Basic Training

Image Credits: Google

Do you have an example of how someone was polite and mannerly to you and it made a difference? Do you believe that our society could benefit from retraining in manners? Why or Why not?


General Customs


Image Credit: Pexels

There are many different reasons and ways to celebrate. Celebrations are generally fun and may require no special planning or extensive planning. Celebrations may involve special decorations, food, clothing, songs, and customs or rituals.  Books I checked out were:

Everydaty Confetti The Meaning of Wedding Anniversaries Celebrations that Touch the Heart Country Christmas

In Everyday Confetti: Your Year-Round Guide to Celebrating Holidays and Special Occassions by Karen Ehman and Glynnis Whitwer the discussion is about every day celebrations and (mostly) nonmajor holidays throughout the year. I love that  family time is considered a joyous occasion with detailed suggestions to help families connect, honor one another, and just have fun together.  Ideas for celebrating family include creating an honor plate, establishing a family night (or some other specific time) and a sibling night. Among other things to celebrate are The Big Game, Black History Month, President’s Day, Spring has Sprung, Arbor Day, Best Friend’s Day, Johnny Appleseed Day and many others. Throughout this book there are accompanying recipes to help plan special joyous occassions along with various suggested activities.


Image Credit: Thirty Handmade Days

At one time or another most of us have seen a list similar to the image above. In the book The Meaning of Wedding Anniversaries by Gretchen Scoble and Ann Field the list of traditional gifts goes from the first anniversary through the seventieth anniversary.  Each year is given one page plus an illustration page in which to explain the symbolism behind the gifts, a brief explanation or idea of how a  gift  made the list, and several suggestions for what types of gifts can be given to fit the category. The gifts are supposed to increase in durability and endurance with each passing year to represent the marriage growing stronger over time.

To give an example of the types of things included in the book, I opened it at random to  Year 19.  The 19th wedding anniversary gift is aquamarine.  Aquamarine is the color associated with the blue gem beryl.  Beryls are blue like the sea and the word “aquamarine” literally means “sea water.”  Often beryls will have a slight green hue which is representative of waves. In folklore beryls are called aquamarines and thought to be mermaid gems. The poet Yeats compared aquamarines to unicorn eyes. Often in myths mermaids are called sirens. Sirens would call to sailors to leave their ships and join them in the water. Mermaids themselves were thought to be descended from Aphrodite, the goddess of love and from other ancient goddesses of the moon and sea. In a marriage the woman represents the mermaid calling to her lover to abandon ship (a symbolic picture for his reason) and join her in the place of emotion. The term “aquamarine love” is a descriptor of married couples specifically and thought to help couples settle differences and get closer to each other. 

Given this background awareness a suggested gift for the 19th anniversary  is to be creative and “indulge in a fantasy where unicorns and mermaids are real” (p46). Aquamarine gifts yield themselves easily to jewelry such as earrings, rings necklaces, and bracelets. The couple may also choose to read from William Butler Yeats. Many creative gifts and experiences could be applied to the aquamarine anniversary.

Up until I checked this book out I hadn’t really thought much about the traditional wedding anniversary gifts. After checking this book out, I began to wonder where this list came from in the first place.  After doing some internet research I discovered I was not alone in this query.  Based on the site howstuffworks.com I’ve written a summary of what I learned. 

There are lots of theories about where the original list came from, but it’s likely that it originally came from the Victorian age in the UK sometime during the 1800’s. Later at some point in the 20th century the list made it’s way to the United States. Both lists still exist today but are slightly different from each other. Most of the gifts on the list are the same but may be assigned to different years. The UK list gives gift suggestions through the 15th anniversary and then only every fifth year afterwards until the 60th wedding anniversary.

In 1937 a jeweler’s association saw a marketing opportunity and expanded on the list. After all gifts would still be needed for all of the anniversaries not included on the list. This is most likely how so many precious gems were incorporated into the list. The years on the list were increased to 75 years without skipping any years as the UK version did. Probably in an attempt not to be quite so obvious some “modern” gifts such as clocks, desk sets, and silverware were also added to the list. As pointed out on howstuffworks.com most modern brides would probably not be too thrilled with the “modern” gifts of the 1900’s unless they were “diamond-encrusted or made of chocolate.” The sorts of gifts (other than gems) that were added to the list in the 1900’s didn’t fair well in the test of time and it wasn’t too long before the list retuned to it’s traditional form and items like clocks disappeared from the list. The traditional list has performed well over time since no woman in her right mind is going to refuse gifts of gemstones and the finer things in life. Both of the lists I’ve discussed here can still be found in circulation today with the traditional list being the most tried, true, and enduring. Sometimes you will find a list like the one above which includes both lists as well as the list of recommended anniversary flowers. 

Do you and your spouse ever reference the wedding anniversary list? The first anniversary gift is paper. You could give your spouse paper tickets to a concert, play, or symphony. How would you modernize it and still fit the category?

Death Customs


Throughout human existence has been the need to deal with the death of friends and loved ones. Different cultures have practiced many different types of death customs and burials. Even within the same country or culture there can be many varied rituals. Death customs are influence by religion, spiritual beliefs, lack of spiritual beliefs, the wishes of the deceased (if left in a will or preplanned funeral arrangement), cultural traditions, family values, acceptable social practices and so much more. There is no way I could adequately cover this topic in one blog post so I will simply point Dewey Hop readers to the latest books I’ve encountered on my read through the Fulton County Public Library.

The first book I encountered on this topic is:

What a Way to Go

Since I can’t write a better summary, I’ve borrowed some summaries:

  • Baker & Taylor
    An entertaining, yet respectful, documentary of the most extraordinary lives and amazing funerals of two dozen twentieth-century icons from politics, art, and pop culture, including Jim Henson, Babe Ruth, Elvis Presley, Eva Peron, and the Ayatollah Khomeini, is filled with stunning photographs and riveting information. Original.
  • Grand Central Pub
    A&E Biography meets Tales from the Crypt in this fun but respectful survey of the amazing lives and astonishing funerals of two dozen twentieth-century icons from politics, art, and pop culture. In more than 50 rare photographs and thoroughly researched profiles, What a Way to Go showcases all the colorful details of each subject’s death, funeral service, and burial. From Muppet creator Jim Henson’s upbeat service, attended by Big Bird, to Babe Ruth lying in state at Yankee Stadium as vendors sold hot dogs to waiting mourners–it’s all here, the moving and the macabre. JFK, Notorious B.I.G., Elvis Presley, Chairman Mao, Eva Peron, the Ayatollah Khomeini, and many more find fitting tribute in this compulsively readable, visually lavish, richly entertaining celebration of our enduring fascination with the famous and the strange pageantry of their demise.

And I’ve also done the same thing for this book:

Reimagining Death

“For all those seeking to reclaim their innate and legal right to care for their own dead, create home funeral vigils, and choose greener after-death care options that are less toxic and more sustainable for the earth More natural after-death care options are transforming the paradigm of the existing funeral industry, helping families and communities recover their instinctive capacity to care for a loved one after death and do so in creative, nourishing, and healing ways. In reclaiming these practices and creating new, innovative options, we are greening the gateway of death and returning home to ourselves, our bodies, and the earth. Lucinda Herring reminds us of the sacredness of death itself; her compelling stories, poetry, and guidance come from years of experience as a home funeral/green burial consultant and licensed funeral director dedicated to more natural and healing death practices. In Reimagining Death she shares with readers her experience caring for her own mother after death. Through storytelling and resources Herring also reveals to families the gifts of partnering with nature, home funeral vigils, sacred care at death, conscious dying (through the story of a Death with Dignity with accompanying photos of one man’s planned death and after-death care), bringing laughter and a greater lightness of being to death, natural burials, and emerging eco-conscious dispositions. A valuable resource in planning for all deaths in all circumstances (with a chapter on what to do when a death occurs outside of the home), this book also guides readers on how to create an advance after-death care directive”– Provided by publisher.
“”For all those seeking to reclaim their innate and legal right to care for their own dead, create home funeral vigils, and choose greener after-death care options that are less toxic and more sustainable for the earth”–Provided by publisher”– Provided by publisher
Dealing with the death of a loved one is a very personal experience and is unique to every individual and family.  If you dealt with a funeral, celebration of life, memorial and would like to share your experience please feel free to do so in the comments below.
Have you ever considered an alternative to the customary funeral arrangements for yourself or a loved one? Have you ever been to an after death service that was unique in some way?