Frugalities

Learn to satisfy your thirst with water. If you never introduce children to the junk they will like water. Sometimes we put spearmint, lemon slices, or lemon balm leaves in our glasses for a treat, but mostly we drink plain water. Juice is not a necessity.

I don’t introduce my babies to any beverage but breastmilk until after they’ve had solid foods, and then they may have water. I do not buy juice except when it is called for in a recipe (and just recently for the HM’s vinegar/juice cholesterol reducing concoction- at least, we hope it reduces cholesterol). Very occasionally (primarily at potlucks when somebody else brings them), we have soda as a treat, but nobody gets caffeine until after 13, and even then, caffeinated sodas are reserved for special situations.

One of the Tightwad Gazette’s most brilliant ideas is that the special things in life need to have space around them so that they continue to be special. Keeping that in mind, we do have Russian tea and hot cocoa at special times in the winter, and we make real lemonade occasionally in the summer (lemon juice, stevia or sugar, and lemon balm leaves in water).

Hot herbal teas are taken occasionally for medicinal purposes and also on special occasions (tea parties!).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Headmaster and I on a Date

So. How shall I explain that after my posts about why it’s not really necessary to go out on a date with your spouse when you can spend the same one on one time in other, more frugal ways, the HM and I went on the most expensive date of our lives?

I don’t even know how much we spent because I preferred to walk out to the car before the register rang up the total. Whatever did we do?

We went out to a home improvement store to buy new items for our new home- things like showers, bathtubs, ceiling lights, faucets, towel racks, and wood stain. I loathe home improvement stores, this one above all others. I really hate it. I can’t ever find what I want. The concrete floors are crippling to my knees and back. The help has been mostly incompetent (last time they assured us that the bathtub/whirlpool/shower combo we were looking at would fit in the space we have. Tonight they told us it is 12 inches larger).

I don’t think I’m a very fun date at this place. I causually mentioned to my husband some three hundred and 29 times that I hated this place. While we were picking out lamps we kept running into problems. The first problem was he sent me off to look for lamps by myself, telling me (I am sure) that I needed a flush wall mount lamp, when in truth I needed it to be a ceiling lamp. So I spent 45 minutes finding a flush wall mount, and then he showed up and said, well, I guess we can use that in one place, but you’re supposed to be getting a ceiling mount. I told him how much I hated that place.
The next lamp I liked had the wrong size bulbs (I hate this place), or the wrong mounting (I hate this place), , and the dh would recommend one that had all those things, but it was in neon blue with tints of violet (have I mentioned that I hate this place?), but after another 45 minutes of agony I found a lamp that would do (we needed five of them) and five of them were in stock- and then the HM said, and I quote, “Well, but are you sure you want these? We don’t have to make a quick decision. We can always come back another time.”

I gritted my teeth and said lovingly (what are you laughing for? Of course it was lovingly!), “I do not think I have managed to convey accurately to you the depth of my loathing for this dreadful anteroom to Hades or my resolute determination to never darken its portals again, and I will live in darkness in the new house forever if the only way we may have light is for me to return to this realm of Pluto. I want these lamps and they are beautiful to me if for no other reason than that if we own them and take them home today you cannot make me come back here again.”
And he said, “Huh? Did you say something?”

Next we went to the appliance store, which at first seemed to be a Twilight Zone episode where the hapless victim repeats a variation on the same horrible theme and relives it over and over. But after a few minutes the chaos resolved itself and we found a knowledgeable salesperson who took me seriously when I said, “This is what I want and I do not want anything else- it must be 25 cubic feet, in bisque or biscuit or almond but never titanium or black or white, and it must have a freezer on the bottom with an ice maker and it must have either a drink dispenser outside the door or it will not have one at all because a drink dispenser inside the door drips all over everything in the fridge and makes a mess and the kids have to use both hands to get a drink and then they never set down what they already had in their hands so in addition to spilling water everywhere they dump their bar-b-Que chicken all down the front of the fridge and get it on their best dresses so you see an inside deal drink dispenser is a total deal breaker”
And he never blinked, but went to his computer and his catalog and came back and showed me what I wanted (it is an Amana). And then we spent ten minutes on stoves and I have to wait to purchase it because I need to think about whether I want convection or conventional. I do not know, and I can’t have the 1500 dollar combination that first took my fancy, nor can I have the 4,000 dollar beauty that next took my fancy, which is really fine.
So that was pleasant.

And then it was late (after 9 p.m.) and neither of us had dinner and we were tired and not very much less cranky than we had been in the first store (the one I hate- have I mentioned that?). The HM asked if we wanted to go out to eat, and if so, where. I said I did not care so long as it wasn’t a buffet because my feet hurt too much to get up and walk around to collect my food. So we went through a fast food drive-through window. And then the HM realized that we were in his work car where his window never rolls down.
So he turned the car around and drove through the drive-through backward. We ordered exactly the same thing, and it took a little while because the sweet young things working there kept coming to the window to laugh. When the sweet young thing handed out our two Dr. Peppers I help up one of them and asked her (in serious tones), So, is this the Dr. Pepper or the Dr. Pepper?”

And having had as much fun as two middle aged parents of adult, teen, and gradeschooled children should be allowed to have, we came home.

Posted in frugalities | 4 Comments

First, You have to Care.

I was astonished today when a classmate told me how impressed she was with my mannerisms and academic achievements; she was so impressed, in fact, she wanted me to mentor her. This was unsettling. I stumbled and yammered for several minutes about setting goals, not letting pleasure take priority over homework, making it an absolute in my mind that homework *would* be turned in on time, no matter what.
And she smiled and nodded and took notes. And I know she meant it, but I don’t think I started at a basic enough level.

After class was over she mentioned something about her history course. Me, being me, got very excited. And then had to hear her say why she did not see why we had to study history, how she saw no point in it, and thought psychology majors really did not need it…or only needed it if the people in history had psychiatric problems.

It was then I realized where I should have started. Caring about what you are learning is primary; all those other things come much more easily if you actually have interest invested in the subjects.


This was a good reminder for me, too. I am becoming rather burned out with some of my classes (macroeconomics being one. I have had almost all I can take of Consumption Functions and the Maximum Propensity to Consume) and investing less and less of myself in them. This is not so good. A Consumption Function is thrilling; yes, indeed, HeadGirl!
Lest any math-ish people think I’m a complete lost cause, I am enjoying my read of The Road to Serfdom by von Hayek. :-) I suppose that’s less math and more economic philosophy, but I somehow feel understanding von Hayek’s point of view is more important for the average person than knowing how to compute MPC. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself right now as a balm for my savaged ego.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Quote from Charlotte Mason

~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ .

‘God doth Instruct.’––In the things of science, in the things of art, in the things of practical everyday life, his God doth instruct him and doth teach him, her God doth instruct her and doth teach her. Let this be the mother’s key to the whole of the education of each boy and each girl; not of her children; the Divine Spirit does not work with nouns of multitude, but with each single child. Because He is infinite, the whole world is not too great a school for this indefatigable Teacher, and because He is infinite, He is able to give the whole of his infinite attention for the whole time to each one of his multitudinous pupils. We do not sufficiently rejoice in the wealth that the infinite nature of our God brings to each of us.

Subjects Divinely Taught––And what subjects are under the direction of this Divine Teacher? The child’s faith and hope and charity––that we already knew; his temperance, justice, prudence and fortitude––that we might have guessed; his grammar, rhetoric, logic, music, astronomy, geometry, arithmetic––this we might have forgotten, if these Florentine teachers had not reminded us; his practical skill in the use of tools and instruments, from a knife and fork to a microscope, and in the sensible management of all the affairs of life––these also come from the Lord, which is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working. His God doth instruct him and doth teach him….

Children must have the Best Books––One more thing is of vital importance; children must have books, living books; the best are not too good for them; anything less than the best is not good enough; and if it is needful to exercise economy, let go everything that belongs to soft and luxurious living before letting go the duty of supplying the books, and the frequent changes of books, which are necessary for the constant stimulation of the child’s intellectual life. We need not say one word about the necessity for living thought in the teacher; it is only so far as he is intellectually alive that he can be effective in the wonderful process which we glibly call ‘education.’

Charlotte Mason

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Child’s Calendar Beautiful, Fifth Year, October

October Song

The locust trees are hung with pods
Of glossy russet-brown
And tawny leaves of sycamores
Are swiftly drifting down.

Their purple clusters, over-ripe,
The trailing wild-grapes show;
And frost-tipped woodbine clambers up
From scarlet depths below.

Still clinging to the clover stalks
Are blossoms, white and sweet;
And pricked in tufted rows,
the fields are green with winter wheat.

On furrowed mold, where grew the corn,
Pale, golden stubble stands;
And lingering blackbirds pip and trill
Through swampy meadow-lands.

Far, far above, within the blue,
Half hid in lofty flight,
A hawk sails slow, and sunward turns
A breast of shining white.

The air is full of milkweed films,
And floating thistle floss;
And busily the spiders spin
Their silver nets across

The red-oaks’s tangled undergrowth
Of lacing boughs, and string
The yellow lindens,
that the winds are rudely pillaging.

And where the ruddy maples blaze
Athwart the gusty air,
It lifts their leaves like little flames,
And puffs them everywhere.

But what if, loosed with fitful touch,
The woodland doffs its gown;
What if the fallow hillside grass
Grows slowly crisp and brown!

What matter that the truant sun
Slips southward, day by day,
And that, hard by, the winter waits
To hood the skies in gray!

I’ll find but deeper joy in this,
The autumn’s pageantury;
The sumac boughs are brighter far
Than dark forebodings be.

Evaleen Stein

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Frugalities

Learn to satisfy your thirst with water. If you never introduce children to the junk they will like water. Sometimes we put spearmint, lemon slices, or lemon balm leaves in our glasses for a treat, but mostly we drink plain water. Juice is not a necessity.

I don’t introduce my babies to any beverage but breastmilk until after they’ve had solid foods, and then they may have water. I do not buy juice except when it is called for in a recipe (and just recently for the HM’s vinegar/juice cholesterol reducing concoction- at least, we hope it reduces cholesterol). Very occasionally (primarily at potlucks when somebody else brings them), we have soda as a treat, but nobody gets caffeine until after 13, and even then, caffeinated sodas are reserved for special situations.

One of the Tightwad Gazette’s most brilliant ideas is that the special things in life need to have space around them so that they continue to be special. Keeping that in mind, we do have Russian tea and hot cocoa at special times in the winter, and we make real lemonade occasionally in the summer (lemon juice, stevia or sugar, and lemon balm leaves in water).

Hot herbal teas are taken occasionally for medicinal purposes and also on special occasions (tea parties!).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Headmaster and I on a Date

So. How shall I explain that after my posts about why it’s not really necessary to go out on a date with your spouse when you can spend the same one on one time in other, more frugal ways, the HM and I went on the most expensive date of our lives?

I don’t even know how much we spent because I preferred to walk out to the car before the register rang up the total. Whatever did we do?

We went out to a home improvement store to buy new items for our new home- things like showers, bathtubs, ceiling lights, faucets, towel racks, and wood stain. I loathe home improvement stores, this one above all others. I really hate it. I can’t ever find what I want. The concrete floors are crippling to my knees and back. The help has been mostly incompetent (last time they assured us that the bathtub/whirlpool/shower combo we were looking at would fit in the space we have. Tonight they told us it is 12 inches larger).

I don’t think I’m a very fun date at this place. I causually mentioned to my husband some three hundred and 29 times that I hated this place. While we were picking out lamps we kept running into problems. The first problem was he sent me off to look for lamps by myself, telling me (I am sure) that I needed a flush wall mount lamp, when in truth I needed it to be a ceiling lamp. So I spent 45 minutes finding a flush wall mount, and then he showed up and said, well, I guess we can use that in one place, but you’re supposed to be getting a ceiling mount. I told him how much I hated that place.
The next lamp I liked had the wrong size bulbs (I hate this place), or the wrong mounting (I hate this place), , and the dh would recommend one that had all those things, but it was in neon blue with tints of violet (have I mentioned that I hate this place?), but after another 45 minutes of agony I found a lamp that would do (we needed five of them) and five of them were in stock- and then the HM said, and I quote, “Well, but are you sure you want these? We don’t have to make a quick decision. We can always come back another time.”

I gritted my teeth and said lovingly (what are you laughing for? Of course it was lovingly!), “I do not think I have managed to convey accurately to you the depth of my loathing for this dreadful anteroom to Hades or my resolute determination to never darken its portals again, and I will live in darkness in the new house forever if the only way we may have light is for me to return to this realm of Pluto. I want these lamps and they are beautiful to me if for no other reason than that if we own them and take them home today you cannot make me come back here again.”
And he said, “Huh? Did you say something?”

Next we went to the appliance store, which at first seemed to be a Twilight Zone episode where the hapless victim repeats a variation on the same horrible theme and relives it over and over. But after a few minutes the chaos resolved itself and we found a knowledgeable salesperson who took me seriously when I said, “This is what I want and I do not want anything else- it must be 25 cubic feet, in bisque or biscuit or almond but never titanium or black or white, and it must have a freezer on the bottom with an ice maker and it must have either a drink dispenser outside the door or it will not have one at all because a drink dispenser inside the door drips all over everything in the fridge and makes a mess and the kids have to use both hands to get a drink and then they never set down what they already had in their hands so in addition to spilling water everywhere they dump their bar-b-Que chicken all down the front of the fridge and get it on their best dresses so you see an inside deal drink dispenser is a total deal breaker”
And he never blinked, but went to his computer and his catalog and came back and showed me what I wanted (it is an Amana). And then we spent ten minutes on stoves and I have to wait to purchase it because I need to think about whether I want convection or conventional. I do not know, and I can’t have the 1500 dollar combination that first took my fancy, nor can I have the 4,000 dollar beauty that next took my fancy, which is really fine.
So that was pleasant.

And then it was late (after 9 p.m.) and neither of us had dinner and we were tired and not very much less cranky than we had been in the first store (the one I hate- have I mentioned that?). The HM asked if we wanted to go out to eat, and if so, where. I said I did not care so long as it wasn’t a buffet because my feet hurt too much to get up and walk around to collect my food. So we went through a fast food drive-through window. And then the HM realized that we were in his work car where his window never rolls down.
So he turned the car around and drove through the drive-through backward. We ordered exactly the same thing, and it took a little while because the sweet young things working there kept coming to the window to laugh. When the sweet young thing handed out our two Dr. Peppers I help up one of them and asked her (in serious tones), So, is this the Dr. Pepper or the Dr. Pepper?”

And having had as much fun as two middle aged parents of adult, teen, and gradeschooled children should be allowed to have, we came home.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

First, You have to Care.

I was astonished today when a classmate told me how impressed she was with my mannerisms and academic achievements; she was so impressed, in fact, she wanted me to mentor her. This was unsettling. I stumbled and yammered for several minutes about setting goals, not letting pleasure take priority over homework, making it an absolute in my mind that homework *would* be turned in on time, no matter what.
And she smiled and nodded and took notes. And I know she meant it, but I don’t think I started at a basic enough level.

After class was over she mentioned something about her history course. Me, being me, got very excited. And then had to hear her say why she did not see why we had to study history, how she saw no point in it, and thought psychology majors really did not need it…or only needed it if the people in history had psychiatric problems.

It was then I realized where I should have started. Caring about what you are learning is primary; all those other things come much more easily if you actually have interest invested in the subjects.


This was a good reminder for me, too. I am becoming rather burned out with some of my classes (macroeconomics being one. I have had almost all I can take of Consumption Functions and the Maximum Propensity to Consume) and investing less and less of myself in them. This is not so good. A Consumption Function is thrilling; yes, indeed, HeadGirl!
Lest any math-ish people think I’m a complete lost cause, I am enjoying my read of The Road to Serfdom by von Hayek. :-) I suppose that’s less math and more economic philosophy, but I somehow feel understanding von Hayek’s point of view is more important for the average person than knowing how to compute MPC. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself right now as a balm for my savaged ego.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Painting the outhouse


Daddy, FYG, and FYB painted the outhouse to day. Doesn’t it look spectacularly white? FYB also seems to have painted his boots, although not quite as well as the outhouse. :)
Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Muslim Compound in Virginia

This was going to go in the ‘News and Views’ post, but it really warrents a place of its own. I’m very concerned.

Gates of Vienna is among our very favorite Grown Up Blogs- and they have a very disturbing post here.

“But first: some background on Jamaat ul-Fuqra. The group was founded in New York by Sheikh Gilani in New York in 1980. Its current headquarters is in Hancock, New York, and it has various compounds, or Jamaats, scattered throughout the United States and Canada, notably in Colorado, New York, Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia. Most of the adherents are reported to be American-born Black Muslims who follow a strict Islamist ideology.

Sheikh Gilani, you may remember, is the cleric with whom Daniel Pearl had arranged an interview back in January of 2002. Unfortunately, Mr. Pearl was betrayed by his sources, and then abducted and beheaded. Sheikh Gilani was arrested later that month and languishes in Pakistani custody.

So this is the kind of people we are dealing with here. They launder money, smuggle firearms, plan and carry out assassinations and bombings, and conduct intense Islamist indoctrination, including inside American prisons.”

You really want to read the rest.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment