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.