This giveaway is now closed. Check here for the winners!
I don’t remember when I first bumped in to Home Ec 101, Heather Solos’ blog about everyday life skills for the home, but I was smitten by its no-nonsense approach to getting things done around the house in a practical format. Home Ec 101 is practical, to the point, and retro in both its look and its content. Who among us actually took Home Ec in school? Not many, I’d wager. But goodness, those life skills would have been practical as I started my grown-up life, that’s for sure.
Heather’s book, Home Ec 101: Skills for Everyday Living, just hit bookstores this spring (and it shares my book’s publisher, funnily enough). I chatted with Heather a bit at Blissdom this year, and knew her book would be a hit with Simple Mom readers. (It’s available on Kindle, too!)
Here, Heather shares some about her book, her blog’s tagline, and why it’s rewarding to plunge your own toilet. At the end, you can enter for a chance to win a copy of her book!
1. What’s the main message of your book? If readers finished it with just one big idea, what would be their big take-away?
Life is messier than it is portrayed in mainstream media -well, except for that show Hoarders, but that’s whole other story. I believe that many of us quit trying because our homes never, no matter how hard we work, look like they do in the glossies. It’s not fun to live in a state of embarrassment and apology; I want people to know there is a middle ground. Home-Ec 101 gives readers to the tools to pull their households together. Life usually exists somewhere between the neglected bachelor pad and the showcase floor.
2. I love the kitschy, retro layout of your book. Does it speak a bit into the book’s topic — getting back to the basics, learning what our mothers and grandmothers learned about basic homekeeping?
When the website was first launched, I wanted a specific connotation that covered the site’s focus, and the term Home Ec just fit. Home Ec also carries a mental image of retro dresses, old public service ads, and line drawings. I thought it would be fun to mix it up.
I like to play off the traditional ideal and add a bit of modern expectations, wit, and science. Hopefully the 101 is a bit obvious, the site and the book are written for those just starting out. It is an introductory course. I’ve been told that Home Ec classes — where you can still find them — are now called Family and Consumer Science, I find that a bit sterile.
The tagline of the site used to be “What you wish your mama taught you,” which helped illustrate that the scope of the site covered what we should have learned growing up. However, I always felt a bit too silly saying that outloud. My editor and marketing team helped come up with “Skills for Everyday Living.” This is something I can say with confidence, and also lets readers know that goal isn’t unobtainable.
3. Your book covers a lot of topics — fixing appliances, translating recipes, dusting, and the like. What part of home management comes naturally to you? What’s a bit more challenging; out of your comfort zone?
Years ago I was a chef, so I can usually tackle anything in the kitchen with enthusiasm. Cook dinner for 20? No problem!
Home repair has immediate payoff. As gross as it is, I don’t mind unclogging a sink or plunging a toilet. First of all, not paying a plumber is fantastic incentive; secondly, I find a huge sense of accomplishment in solving a problem.
Self-discipline is my white whale. Put the empty can in the recycling bin instead of on the counter? Hang the keys on the hook by the door? Sort the mail as I bring it in? Impossible! Well, not really, but I always find myself dragging my feet and having to talk myself through the effort. It’s not anything that comes naturally and I really have to work at it.
4. Give us one non-obvious housekeeping tip you share in your book.
Oh man, that’s a hard one.
Don’t over-dry your clothing. Not only does this waste electricity and time, it weakens the fibers, which causes premature wear.
Heather would like to give 10 Simple Mom readers a copy of Home Ec 101: Skills for Everyday Living!
To enter, simply leave a comment on this post, answering this question: What’s your most challenging area of home economics: cooking, cleaning, or fixing?
If you’re reading this in an email, you must come over to the blog to comment.
That’s it! But if you’d like three additional ways to enter the giveaway, here’s how:
1. Mention this giveaway on Twitter, including @simplemom, @HomeEc101, and the URL of this post — http://bit.ly/gSiOlH. Then come back and leave an additional comment on this post, telling me about your tweet.
2. ‘Like’ Simple Mom on Facebook and Home Ec 101 on Facebook. Then come back here again and leave a comment, telling me you did so.
3. Sign up for Heather’s mailing list, then come back here again and leave a comment, telling me you did so.
This giveaway will end on 11:59 p.m. this Saturday, April 16, and I’ll announce the winners this weekend. I hope you win!