27 December 2006

Christmas Nirvana

For the third year in a row, I have achieved what I like to call Christmas Nirvana. This is what happens when you thoughtfully choose your childrens' gifts, and don't give too few or too many.

There is a fine line when it comes to how many. Too few, and they won't have enough to keep them busy. Too many, and they think they got short-changed because they started feeling entitled to lots of gifts. Plus, they get overwhelmed and don't know what to play with first.

I am afraid that I have reached the turning point with the Frugalboy, though. He's getting old enough that his gifts aren't just toys. They are things like fishing poles and tool boxes so he doesn't have as many things to "play" with on Christmas morning. He's complaining of boredom already, and wants to go shopping to spend the rest of the money from his grandparents.

The girls are completely content playing with their dolls and dress-ups. I carefully gave them complementary gifts so they could play together.

But the days are long and rainy and there's only so long until they get bored.

There's only 6 more days until they go back to school. Not that I'm counting. What I am counting the minutes to is Saturday, when I get to go out without any children and sit and knit and chat with the ladies in my cloth diapering group. Saturday. At 11:00. Did I mention that the kids are staying home?

On the knitting front, on the needles right now I have a Lilac Perdita for my sister's birthday. With cream crochet cotton like in the picture. On another set of needles I have some corn that I gave up on for a Christmas gift because I wasn't getting it done fast enough. I hope to get the bracelet done soon, because her birthday is January 5, and start on some longies for Frugalbaby in the softest merino I've ever felt!

26 December 2006

Back in my younger days, and where NOT to eat

I was much skinnier, and I didn't have any gray hairs. We got married in the Salt Lake City Temple and we were sealed by my grandfather. I honestly don't remember much from the ceremony.

But I do remember that I had arranged for us to stay in a honeymoon "suite" in the Doubletree Hotel that was next to the Delta Center (I don't think it's a Doubletree anymore, though.) Our room was supposed to come with a bottle of complimentary champagne (I asked if we could have soda or something else instead and they agreed) and there were supposed to be chocolate-dipped strawberries, too. We were also supposed to get a free movie in the room, and free breakfast. Well, we never got our soda, our strawberries, and they charged us for the movie, so we decided to cut our losses and didn't even try to get breakfast. I wrote a letter demanding justice and got a reply that they were sorry for the inconvenience. Whatever! Oh, and the hotel was having plumbing trouble, because the jacuzzi tub in our bathroom was full of rust-colored water when we tried to take a bath.

Despite it all, we still managed to do what every engaged couple can't wait to do. (insert wicked grin and wink)

The next day was Christmas Eve, and we spend the night in Idaho Falls at the round hotel that overlooks the river and the Idaho Falls Temple. Much nicer room, and the breakfast was free, and the room was much cheaper, if I recall correctly!

We spent Christmas and the next couple nights at Frugaldad's parents' house and had our first reception. We had reservations at a lodge in Jackson Hole to spend a couple nights. Well, there was this huge snow storm and an avalanche on Jackson Pass. The roads were all closed that direction, so we decided to just head back to Provo early. The next day was New Year's Eve and we decided to head to Southern Utah for a drive through the mountains and we rang in the New Year in a motel in Cedar City. Then we flew to Houston the next day for the reception with my family.

Looking back at the foiled attempt at a honeymoon, our attempt at having some time together on our tenth anniversary just went along with everything else. We arranged for all of the kids to play with their cousins for a few hours while we ran errands and went to lunch. We started at the fabric store (I know what you're thinking. We really go all out for big events like our tenth anniversary) because I needed a couple small piece of rip-stop nylon to repair some tears inflicted by the Frugaldog in two coats. I should have known things were headed south when they were short-handed at the cutting counter. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, I finally got my two 1/8 yard pieces cut and paid for (sixty-seven cents), and we headed to The Cheesecake Factory for lunch. (I'm not even going to bother linking you to them. You'll see why.) We arrived shortly after 11:20. They told us it would be a 20-40 minute wait. Surprised, we agreed hesitantly, because we didn't really want to go somewhere else. We took our little pager and headed next-door to the mall. We didn't even make it to the doors, however, when our pager buzzed, and we were taken to our table. I thought, but looking back I should have known better, that since we were seated so quickly that lunch would be a breeze. We had never eaten there before, and were a little surprised at how close the tables are to each other. They really have you elbow to elbow with the neighboring table. Our waitress came after not too long and gave us the menu. Which was huge. It is spiral bound and at least 1/4 inch thick. We decided on an appetizer, ordered it, replied that yes, we'd like bread too, and we waited. Then we ordered our lunch.

And we waited.

And we waited.

The people next to us got their food.

And we waited.

The people on the other side of us, who ordered their lunch right before us, got their food.

We mentioned to the waitress that we were still waiting on the appetizer. She said she'd check on it, and then the manager came out and tells us that he just checked and our appetizer would be out shortly.

Which it was.

No sooner had a waiter put down the appetizer, that another one brought our lunch. The lady at the neighboring table, whom we were starting to be close friends with, you know, with the proximity and all, said that we should say something, that the appetizer shouldn't come at the same time as the food. Which we agreed with. Somewhere along the line, someone dropped the ball. Whether it was the waitress or the kitchen, ultimately the waitress should have done something about it. We ate the appetizer while we ate our lunch, but didn't finish it. And didn't box it up to bring it home because we knew it wouldn't reheat well. We thought we should order dessert because after all, we were at The Cheesecake Factory. The waitress asked if we wanted menus again. When she finally brought them like 5 minutes later we were getting really tired of waiting. She left us alone again for a really long time. We decided that we should just skip dessert after seeing how long it took the tables on either side of us to get their cheesecake. We asked for the bill. It came to $38.57. Since we knew we'd be there until dinnertime if we waited for her to process our credit card, we left $4o cash with the bill and got out of there as quick as we could.

I can't decide if it's even worth my time to write a letter in complaint. I know I'll probably end up with a free dinner or something, but I'm not sure I want to even go there again.

Then we wrapped up our hot date with a trip to the grocery store.

The day wasn't a total loss, though, as Frugaldad gave me a gold twisted-rope necklace that he bought when he was in Singapore in September and managed to keep hidden from me.

Marriage certainly isn't always what I expected it to be, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Happy Anniversary Frugaldad, I love you.

23 December 2006

Ten years ago today...

Frugaldad and I got married. I don't think we even imagined that we'd be where we are today. I am not ready for Christmas yet but soon I will come back and post some wedding pictures.

22 December 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Our first significant snowfall this season.

There's nothing like celebrating the first snow with a good bounce on the tramp. (yes, the frame is bent from the tumble across the yard--we plan to buy a new one in the spring)

16 December 2006

Teeny Tiny Bag

Frugalbaby loves to carry around my almost-a-Booga Bag. But she is too short to keep it from dragging on the ground. With the yarn I had leftover, I knit her a tiny replica. (I did the handles differently from the pattern by doing a 3-stitch i-cord instead, and didn't do the flap.) The colors, of course, turned out completely different and I am jealous, because I would love it if my bag looked like this too. I used every last bit of yarn, so there's some frugal knitting for you. Pictures are pre-felting, during blocking (sucker for size comparison), alone after blocking, and with the original bag.

And for my knitting friends who read this--the bag is in stockinette stitch but is bound off with a k2tog bind-off (instructions are in the pattern). The edge doesn't roll at all now that the bag is felted. And the bind-off was really easy, too. (My knitting reference book describes the k2tog bind-off differently but I followed the pattern instructions). My Sophie bag that is done with a basic bind-off still rolls a little, but I did a crocheted bind-off on the second Sophie that I did and it didn't roll as badly. This bind-off is the best so far. The big bag above didn't roll because I did over an inch of seed stitch at the top.

12 December 2006

Sew glad to be finished!

My latest batch of sewing is finished. I did 76 baby wipes, 4 diapers, 4 diaper covers, and 2 waterproof bags. Most are for gifts, but two of the Christmas diaper covers are for Frugalbaby. Sometime I'll tell the story of the lost Christmas diaper. I am also keeping some of the wipes that are mostly white.

The diapers are Poopockets, which are a one-size diaper. I make them with a snappi-friendly fabric on the outside because I hate pins.

The bags are made with Procare from Wazoodle.

The diaper covers are from my own pattern, which fits a lot like a Bummis Super Whisper Wrap.

My size tags come from One Stop Diaper Shop, and I don't know why I ever sewed diapers without them. I put them on covers and pocket diapers.

The wipes are all two layers, one of flannel and one of 80%cotton/20%poly stretch terry. I love these wipes. The blue and pink are intended for diaper wipes, and the white are for hands and faces in the kitchen (with the food print).

edited to add the photo I found from after I cut out the wipes


I may be the last person on earth (besides Frugaldad) to see Napoleon Dynamite. I had baskets upon baskets of laundry to fold yesterday afternoon so I popped in the DVD. We have owned it since it came out on DVD but never watched it. Frankly, I was a little disappointed. I had heard that it was a hilarious movie. I thought it was pretty dumb. Sure, there were a couple funny parts, but I honestly can't even remember what they were. There was so little actual dialogue or plot to the movie. I'm glad I didn't rush out to see it, or rush to watch it. I definitely would have rather watched Martha on the DVR.

11 December 2006

Better late than never

I took this great series of photos last spring and never got a chance to post them. We happened to go to the library for storytime on Arbor Day and they were handing out free tree seedings. So that evening, Frugalgirl2 and Frugaldad went out to the corner of the pasture to plant her tree. There were already 2 trees just like it planted there from the previous Arbor Day, so hopefully in 20 years it is a nice shady corner.

05 December 2006


I finished a soaker over the weekend. It's a Curly Purly soaker and I did those fancy leg ruffles to make it look really girly. It's the Kool-aid dyed Wool of the Andes that I did back here. (though I had intended it as just waistband and cuff yarn, I learned that one skein was enough for an entire soaker).

I've also been sewing. Pictures to come when I finish.

Edited to add: this was a gift, so I have yet to see it modeled on a baby. I couldn't mention that it was a gift until it was given. Maybe Heidi will post pictures sometime next summer when this soaker fits her upcoming arrival.

The Magical Age of Eight

We had a momentous occasion at the Frugal Farm this weekend. I mentioned the Frugalboy's birthday before. On Saturday he was baptized a member of the Church. Everything went well. Frugaldad's parents and all his siblings and their families came for the weekend. I bought the Frugalgirls matching winter dresses. They were adorable. We (the girls and I) sang the opening song at the baptism. Well, the girls mumbled and I cried. Oh well. I shouldn't have said I would sing, and when we were practicing and I couldn't get through the song without tears, I should have known better. I guess they just won't ask me to sing anymore?

Frugaldad and Frugalboy before they headed to the church for the baptism

Frugalbaby won't hold still for a picture yet

04 December 2006


30 November 2006

When I go to bed at 1 am

I am not such a nice mom the next day.

That is all.

23 November 2006

The Thanksgiving Virgin

Before today, I had never cooked a Thanksgiving feast. We've always visited family or had an invitation to go somewhere else. This year, though, we didn't go anywhere and didn't have anyone over. So I cooked. And man, did I cook. Everything turned out perfectly. I was so full by the end of dinner. (You'll note that there is no silverware on the table. We did not, much to your dismay, eat with our hands, I just snapped the picture before I grabbed the flatware.)I don't have any fancy schmancy dishes, and I didn't even use a tablecloth. But I let the kids drink from glass glasses and everyone got a napkin folded by their plate.

The Menu

Turkey, before and after. It was so flavorful and juicy.
Mashed potatoes (the real kind, made with cream and butter)
Gravy (strained because it did get a few floury lumps)
Sausage Dressing (tradition in the family dictates that the men cook this one, so Frugaldad made it and it was delicious)
Cranberry Sauce (freshly made) and Cranberry Jelly (from a can, because you have to have both kinds)
Green Beans (home canned from the garden)
Green Bean Casserole*
Olives (because everyone needs olives on their fingers at Thanksgiving)
And for dessert, pumpkin pie with whipped cream. I am still full.

*The Green Bean Casserole was actually leftover from Tuesday night. I found a recipe in the November/December issue of Cooks Illustrated and it looked good. I had never in my life eaten green bean casserole but thought I'd try it for T-day. Then I realized it would be a lot of work for something my kids probably wouldn't eat because of the mushrooms. I had already purchased all the ingredients so I made it on Tuesday night. It makes such a big pan that we (Frugaldad and I, the kids wouldn't touch it) ate half and I warmed the other half today. It is so good, I will never eat any other green bean casserole. I don't want to type up the recipe but if you can, find yourself a copy of the magazine or sign up for a free trial at Cooks Illustrated and try it out.

Not to throw my elbow out patting myself on the back, but my Thanksgiving dinner turned out awesome.

20 November 2006

Frugal Farm Mysteries of Life

How Frugalboy can wake up the instant his nose starts to bleed during the night, often keeping his bedding completely clean, but is unable to wake up before he vomits all over his bedding and carpet.

Why I have to apply anti-acne cream to parts of my face immediately before I apply anti-aging cream to other parts.

Why Frugalbaby is going to have to be sleep-trained again, darn molars.

17 November 2006

Almost a Booga Bag

This bag was knit from this yarn.

It's almost a Booga Bag but I cast on a few more stitches, and did some seed stitch at the top to keep it from rolling.

It's all in the presentation

That's what all the top chefs say, isn't it?

Every kid likes pasta, right? Not the oldest Frugalgirl. She'll eat macaroni and cheese but if you put any other kind of pasta on her plate, no matter the sauce, she complains.

But last night, it was different. With regular spaghetti sauce, I served Campanelle instead of spaghetti. I advertised it by saying, "Look at these pretty noodles. They kind of look like flowers, or bells. Aren't they pretty?"

And since my girls love all things pretty, she ate 3, or even 4 servings. And she asked if I would serve the pretty noodles every time we had spaghetti.

15 November 2006

A juggling act

Emily's post the other day got me thinking about juggling. (Speaking of juggling, I got a really cute juggling set from Stacy and Jessica over at Nurturing Threads. Go buy something there!)This afternoon as I cut out washcloths and wipes for the ladies I know who are having babies soon, I thought about it some more. As I spent an hour cutting out squares of fabric, there were so many more things I could have been doing. The carpets need vacuuming. The floor needs to be swept. I have a sewing table piled high with fabric waiting to be sewn, some of it all cut and ready for the machine (my living room windows have been naked for too long, and quit yelling at me to cover them long ago, though the panels are cut, just not seamed. Someone came to visit or something and I never finished the project). I have an ever-growing stash of yarn and an even longer list of things I'd like to knit. I haven't cleaned up the last of the dead plants in my garden yet (but I did do some, give me a little credit--the frost hadn't killed the last of them at the time) I am so behind in filing paperwork around here it's not even funny. I got the 13th book in the Series of Unfortunate Events from the library the other day and I have only read 2 chapters. I can get through one of those books in an afternoon with nothing else to do! I continue to bake all my family's bread, mix powdered milk, cook mostly from scratch, and sew my own cloth diapers despite the laundry list of things I have to do. And let's not even talk about laundry! It never ends, because as soon as you have it all folded and put away, the day ends and everyone has dirty clothes again.

Sometimes I wonder why I do all the things I do, and why I make the choices I make, because I seem to be the only person around here with more things to do than time. My kids so some basic chores but I am still too uptight to let them do certain things, and I'm certainly not going to wait around while they are at school before the dishes get done, I'll do them myself.

I make all these choices because I feel like they are the best ones for my family, for myself, and for the environment. I just need to learn how to juggle more balls.

13 November 2006

Off the needles

This has got to be one of my fastest projects ever. I cast on the evening of Sunday the 5th and I was finished with the body of the soaker by the night of Wednesday the 8th. Then it took me forever to get the leg cuffs done because I had some time to work on it and forgot to take two of my dpns with me and then life got crazy. I finished yesterday (Sunday the 12th) so that was only a week total time. Not bad, not bad. It's the Punk Knitters soaker in a size large, knit in Plymouth Outback wool. It took less than 100g to do. I am still knitting the i-cord drawstring but she doesn't actually need it. The ribbing is snug on her belly, but I did the eyelet row so I'll put the drawstring in for looks.

I am not actually that excited about how the colors pooled up. I wish the vertical stripes weren't there. But oh well. The wool is nice and soft and I think I will like this soaker.

I think I have decided against a couple of hand-knits for Christmas presents, but I still need to do some, plus get some longies done.

New Version of Blogger

Have you switched yet? I am kind of chicken. I am afraid I will lose something in the process and haven't backed anything up here. Anyone, anyone?

07 November 2006

Lest I forget...

We've had the last birthday of the calendar year, the first Frugalkid, Frugalboy. He has turned the magical age of 8. We had spice cake with caramel frosting again (it's a family favorite, and though I pushed hard for pumpkin pie, he wanted cake) and it turned out fantastic again. (yes, we forgot the candles before we cut the cake...we had already sung before the presents so he just got 1 instead of 8)

I've been doing a lot of thinking about his birth lately and sometime soon I'll post his birth story and the things I've been thinking about. Happy birthday, Frugalboy.


One of my knitting/cloth diapering friends suggested we do another knitalong and she even made flip books for the pattern so we wouldn't get lost. It's the Lily of the Valley pattern from Perdita. (Click on the picture so you can see the detail in the lace--I still can't believe it's just knit on straight needles) It was fun to do something different, with beading even, even though I don't know who I'll give it to.
On the needles now is the Punk Knitters Soaker in Plymouth Outback wool. It's going pretty fast; I am more than halfway done.

01 November 2006

Halloween Costumes

I apologize for the poor picture quality.

31 October 2006

Let's get everything out in the open, shall we?

There may be some people who fall over in a dead faint when they read what I am about to write, especially considering the date. So be it. Every year, I dislike Halloween more and more. Don't get me wrong, I love candy as much (or more) as the next girl, but I hate what it does to my kids. Yesterday I sent Princess Frugalgirl to preschool in her pink princess costume with a sack of smiley-face pencil-cap erasers to hand out. She came home 3 hours later with a paper lunch sack bulging with candy. There are 13 other children in the class, and while I didn't actually count the candy in the bag, I'm fairly certain there were more than 13 treats. Some were full-size candies! And since yesterday at that time, Princess Frugalgirl (she also doesn't want to get out of costume, and for yesterday and today, I'm letting her be a princess) hasn't quit whining, crying, screaming, and generally being a pill. I completely blame it on the sugar. She wants candy, candy, candy, and won't quit screaming unless I give it to her. Which I won't, so hence the constant screaming. I've mentioned sugar before, and now that I have read Little Sugar Addicts, this behavior doesn't surprise me at all.

To her credit, she did share several pieces with Frugalboy and Frugalgirl1 when they came home from school. Thank goodness! Now there's less in her bag.

This afternoon, we are going to the annual "Fall Festival" at Frugaldad's place of employ. The kids go from cubicle to cubicle trick-or-treating. It's the most efficient way to get candy on Halloween I've ever seen, besides going to the store and buying your own. In an hour, the kids will have buckets so heavy with candy I'll have to carry them. Plus, no bulky coats or jackets to worry about when the weather is below freezing, as it often is on Halloween in Idaho. And I am doing my part to reduce the sugar intake of the children of the employees there. I bought tricks instead of treats.

But when we get home, all I'll hear is begging for candy, whining, and crying. I've heard all the advice on how to get rid of candy. The Great Pumpkin, the dentist buys it back, daily rationing, giving it to the kids who come to the house, I've heard them all. I'm not sure exactly how I'm going to handle it but if 8 years of parenting has taught me anything, it's NOT to give candy to a whiny kid.

I'm not even going to get into why we are avoiding the 4-ward Trunk of Treat activity at the church this afternoon (thank goodness it conflicts with the Fall Festival).

But Halloween even isn't a holiday. We don't celebrate what we're thankful for, we aren't rejoicing in the birth or resurrection of Christ, and it isn't even a celebration of love or our country's independence.

I can't completely deprive my kids of the activities that they are aware of. I'm letting them trick-or -treat this afternoon and I even made butterfly wings, and a wizard hat. But that doesn't mean I like Halloween.

28 October 2006

You know the old saying...

Cheaters never win, and winners never cheat? I saw this article on Yahoo today and it reminded me of high school. In college the atmosphere was quite the opposite. I think BYU's graduates are often awarded the "Most Likely to be Ethical In Business" trophies. But in high school? Totally different story.

The girl who was valedictorian was actually not a cheater. She was smart and studied hard, and she deserved to be at the top.

But the guy who was number two, and number three, and many of the others who graduated in the top ten percent of the class, were all big fat cheaters. They'd share test questions with other students who had the same test later in the day, and send infrared messages between their graphing calculators. Imagine what it would have been like if cell phones and pagers weren't just for the drug dealers. They didn't have any moral qualms about what they did, and that was irritating to me and other honest students who were trying to be successful by doing the right thing. I guess now, looking back, since I didn't blow any whistles, I guess I was just being an enabler. But it was still irritating.

Did you know cheaters who got away with it?

20 October 2006

The Hollow Tree Is Full

I don't think I could find a dozen empty quart jars or a dozen empty pint jars, so the Hollow Tree is full for 2006. I'm always so glad when the canning is done for the year. The only food preservation left will be processing the venison after Frugaldad's hunting trip next month.

18 October 2006

A Day in the Life of Frugalmom

5:30 am Frugaldad awakes with a start--what is that beeping sound? And does the puppy need to be let out? I assure him that I took her out at 2:30 am and I'll go take her out again after I turn off the beeping baby monitor that got unplugged. Turn off the baby monitor. Take the puppy out. Go back to bed.

6:00 am Frugalbaby cries. I nurse her and put her back in her bed. Go back to bed.

6:24 am Hit snooze again and again.

6:50 am Get up and get in the shower.

7:10-8:15 am Make breakfast for 6, lunches for 3, and supervise chaos. Change Frugalbaby's diaper.

8:15 am Drive Frugalboy and Frugalgirl1 to the bus stop with the other Frugalgirls in tow.

8:25 am Get back, get Frugalgirl2 ready for preschool, get a phone call from sister-in-law saying she'll drive the kids to preschool because someone else in the class called and needs a ride.

8:45 am Send Frugalgirl to preschool, get Frugalbaby dressed. Change her diaper again. Frugaldad distracts me by making me play with the new multi-handset cordless phone.

9:00 am Take the puppy out again. Check email briefly.

9:28 am Finally ready to leave. Run errands. Realize that we didn't discuss who was picking the preschoolers up. Call sister-in-law and tell her I'll pick them up. The kid she was supposed to pick up wouldn't get in her car so the mom had to take him anyway, so I don't have to take him home too. Nurse the baby while I am shopping for kids' coats.

11:20 am Pick up preschoolers 5 minutes late because of long line at the store.

11:38 am Get to sister-in-law's house to drop off nephew. She is already preparing lunch for all of us, as we planned previously to can applesauce in the afternoon.

11:45 am Run home (1/4 mile down the road) and take the puppy out. Gather canning supplies. Listen to messages. Try to return a call, but line is busy. Go back down the road.

11:55 am Eat lunch and start applesauce. Try to return the call again and get through. I am now committed to a group musical number in church in 2 Sundays.

2:35 pm Run home to let the puppy out again. Go back to keep working on the applesauce. Nurse the baby sometime in the middle of the afternoon. Change her diaper, too.

4:00 pm The older kids get off the bus and come to their cousin's house.

5:15 pm Run home to let the puppy out again. Call the take-out place so Frugaldad can pick up dinner for everyone. Go back to the applesauce.

5:45ish Frugaldad arrives with the food. Keep working on the applesauce. Finally the last of the apples are cooked and we can sauce them and start washing dishes. Change the baby again.

7:00 pm Go home, leaving sister-in-law to process the last 3 canner loads of applesauce. Bathe Frugalgirl2, who took a mud bath sometime during the afternoon. Frugalgirl1 asks to go to bed. Complains of a headache. Her temp is 101.4. Give her Motrin and send her to bed. Get Frugalgirl2 out, jammied, and brush her hair. Put her to bed. Change and nurse the baby and put her to bed. Say good night to Frugalboy.

7:55 pm Go to a song practice for the musical number.

8:51 pm Arrive home. Say good night again to Frugalboy, who has taken advantage of his bedtime.

9:00 pm Make popcorn. Eat a bowl of oatmeal. Eat half the popcorn. Read a magazine. Frugaldad is finally ready to watch Lost. Go outside with Frugaldad when he takes the dog out. Clear the breakfast dishes off the table.

10:00 pm Read email and order a ball-winder with a half-off coupon while Lost plays. Start blogging while still reading email. The cloth diapering group was especially chatty today.

10:45 pm Nurse the baby and put her back to bed.

12:00 am Still blogging, still reading email. Watching The Nine.

15 October 2006

Introducing Tawny

She's an English Shepherd puppy, nearly 8 weeks old, and already loves living here at the Frugal Farm.

02 October 2006

You've had a birthday, shout hooray!

Though she wasn't quite sure what to think of the candle...or all the people singing her name. She did enjoy the cake, however, and ate all the frosting off of it. The frosting, if I may say so myself, turned out fabulously. The cake was a spice cake with caramel frosting, which is a cooked brown sugar frosting, and it was perfectly smooth (instead of grainy, how it sometimes turns out). Sadly, the cake is all gone.

The presents? A ball. One of her favorite things. And a balloon, also one of her favorite things. Like I've said before, kids don't need useless pieces of plastic that will eventually be thrown away. She was delighted with her gifts.

Why Healthy Sleep, Habits Happy Child didn't work for me

You remember this and this and this. Well, two months later and here we are. When I read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child I really believed that I could sleep-train Frugalbaby with the methods in the book. But it didn't work. I was also fighting my two older girls with bedtime. In summers past, the light outside at bedtime didn't seem to make a difference. But this summer, there were nights that the bedtime fight lasted at least an hour. An hour, people. Add that to the additional hour that I would spend rocking the baby because I couldn't get her to go to sleep in her own bed. It was a trying time. When my sister was visiting, one of the nights she said to me. "I can't believe you have to do this every night." Unfortunately, she was here at a bad time. Now I want to call her up and tell her that I can have all four of my children asleep in 15 minutes!

Here's how I solved my problem. First, I picked my battle. I couldn't work on the baby's sleep until I got the older girls going to bed better. So I bribed rewarded them. I put a piece of paper on the fridge and every night they went to bed without getting out again, without jumping from one bed to the other, without asking for a snack they weren't hungry for, I let them choose a sticker in the morning. When they got 7 stickers, they got a treat. When they got 14 stickers, they got another treat. And then I didn't have to use the sticker chart anymore, and now the girls go to bed without a fight.

Now, on to the baby. A couple weeks ago Frugaldad had to go on a business trip for over a week, so I decided to take the opportunity to sleep train again. I put the playpen in my bedroom so I could put the baby in there whenever I wanted to. The first night she screamed for about 20 minutes. The next time, only about 3. The next night, and the next night, she didn't cry at all when I put her in her bed. I would nurse her when she woke, but put her back in bed right after. On about the third night, she woke after only a couple hours and I let her cry and she went back to sleep in about 10 minutes. Happened again the next night. Then Frugaldad came home and I put her in her crib again, hoping the transition between rooms would be all right. It was!

Now I can put the bigger girls to bed, and 15 minutes later I can put the baby in her bed. She doesn't cry and she goes to sleep. Two or three nights since then, she has woken up only once and then slept until after 7am.

What was the difference between sleep training this time and last time? This time I didn't try the ultra-early bedtime, so she didn't have the chance to wake up while it was still light and have to cry for a couple hours before I gave in and nursed her. This time I nursed her when she was hungry, and only fought the sleep. This time it worked.

29 September 2006

Curly Purly

It's done! The Curly Purly soaker in Kool-aid dyed Wool of the Andes. Still needs to be lanolized. (front and back pictures)

25 September 2006

Being a mom sometimes makes you use words like...giddy

I teach my babies a little bit a sign language. Just a few simple signs to help things along. I have taught Frugalbaby the signs for milk, more, and all done. She uses all done almost every time she eats but usually uses the word for more and only signs milk if she has given me other signs of wanting to nurse and I ask her if she wants milk. I have shown her the sign for please several times but she's never used it. It's been quite a long time since I signed please to her. Today she was sitting in her high chair eating lunch. I was giving her tiny cubes of cheese a few at a time and spoon feeding her bites of canned peaches. After the first bite of peach, she wanted more. I said to her while I signed more "Would you like more, please?" And she signed please! I was just....well... giddy with excitement! And then she signed it again! And again!

And that reminds me of some more photo blogging I didn't get to yet. I had a half-bushel box of peaches sitting on the kitchen floor a couple weeks ago and Frugalbaby crawled up to it and took out a big peach and took a bite. I decided that I'd let her have it. So I put her in the high chair with it. She ate almost half of it. She loooooves peaches! And isn't she beautiful?

19 September 2006

Onion Braid

I dug up my onions yesterday (I am done gardening. If it frosts, I will conveniently forget to cover my tomatoes) and since they still had their tops I made my first ever onion braid. I had Frugalboy hold it up for the picture. (Because I didn't want to be in it!)