frugalwoods frugalwoods

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Mrs. Frugalwoods  Mom of 2. Rookie homesteader on 66 acres. Author of “Meet The Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living.”

Please enjoy this montage of my children stacking grass, hay, and leaves on my stomach as I attempt to recline in the grass. We spent the day outside because it’s our moral imperative here in Vermont anytime it’s above 50 degrees and not raining/snowing/hailing. I made an over-ambitious picnic lunch of egg tacos, involving leftover tortillas from last week’s taco party, eggs from our neighbor, green peppers, onions, and avocados. There are now eggs enmeshed in our picnic mat. Enmeshed, I tell you. Why I do these things for picnics, I’ll never know. Post-picnic, I went downhill, beset by what I’ll call “flu lite.” Not super sick, but not super healthy. And so, I reclined on the picnic mat while Mr. FW split logs near the barn and the kids frolicked in the lawn. Within seconds, they both noted that mama was down. There’s something about a prone mama that compels children to climb on you, touch your face, pull your hair, and put stuff on top of you. I lay there giggling while the baby pushed her fists into my stomach and the toddler collected daffodil stems to decorate me with. She then declared, “you are a computer, mama!” and started typing on my leg. I was too tired to protest and so there we were, in the grass, a baby able to nuzzle its mama, a toddler able to imagine a human-shaped computer, and me so happy to just be present. #parentinginreallife #vermont #siblings #collaboration #grassinmyhair #thanksyoutwo

Every now and then, it works out. Not often and not when you expect. But sometimes, you can get your kid to wear clothing and make decent facial expressions AT THE SAME TIME. Somehow, this happened with my oldest daughter ON MOTHER’S DAY. I will likely have to ride these laurels for the next six years. Full disclosure: I bribed her with cowgirl boots and the ability to rip daffodils out of the ground. I needed this. I wanted just ONE moment with one of my kids looking happy. Full disclosure: the baby was 100% screaming indoors with my husband during this floral decimation. But no matter. Afterwards, we all had homemade pancakes (made by my fabulous husband) for lunch and feasted our eyes on these gorgeous/massacred daffodils in a vase. There are moments of perfection and I will SAVOR THEM. I hope you do too. Please tell me about your most recent moment of perfection. I need to hear that I am not alone in this! #parentinginreallife #toddler #toddlerlife #daffodils #notsuretheyllcomebacknextyear

I don’t usually take pictures of our lawnmower. But when I do, you know it was the first grass mow of the season. Somewhere in our acreage we crossed the threshold of being able to use a riding mower and so Mr. Frugalwoods gamely pushes this massive beast around our fields to beat back the brush. Thanks to modern technology, he reports that he covered 4.2 miles in the course of this mowing. Back and forth, back and forth he goes. I see him jog one way and then jog the other way, mower barreling ahead, growling its way through the weedy reeds. Kidwoods, for her part, chased him at a distance of about 300 yards; being our safety child, she had zero interest in coming into contact with the mower. In other news, we continue to reclaim more and more grass for perennial food beds. So far, we’ve managed to plow grass under for: plum trees, cherry trees, blueberry bushes, apple trees, a vegetable garden, a gravel storage site, wildflower beds, a woodshed, a dirt patch (for Kidwoods to play in), and sundry other endeavors. Eventually, there’ll be just a teensy little patch of grass left. Until that time? 4.2 miles, good buddy. #homestead #mowing #yepthatsahashtag #lawnmower #thatonetoo #ilovetheinternet

Kidwoods discovered she could perch on top of the maple sap storage tank and that there’s an echo when you yell down through the opening. After sticking her head in to investigate, she popped up and reported, “don’t worry, I won’t drop a shoe in there.” Oh good, I thought, of all the things I thought you might do, dropping a shoe inside actually had not occurred to me. Most of my parenting fails are, indeed, failures of imagination. The best, the very best of this moment, was sneaking up on these two chuckling about sap storage echoes as the last of this season’s sap drained into the grass, remnants of the syrup we didn’t make. I had the baby on my back, we were just about to head inside for baths, books, and bed. It was the golden hour where both kids are basking in post-dinner glee, both parents are finished with work for the day, and warm breezes are circulating through the gardens. There are moments of bliss out here and this was one of them. #vermont #parentinginreallife #toddler #homestead #maplesyrup

Highlights from today: scrambled eggs are a TERRIBLE idea for a picnic with a baby and toddler. Who know? Apparently not me. Also, bread machines can vibrate themselves off of counters. How do I know this? Oh, it happened to me today.

How a winter child welcomes spring: by locating and frolicking in the last remaining bits of snow. We had a picnic dinner outside tonight (don’t be envisioning an idyllic moment: the toddler tackled the baby in hot pursuit of an avocado sandwich and the baby managed to pulverize a peanut butter sandwich underneath her leg, which I didn’t notice until AFTER she’d climbed all over me, which explains why I have peanut butter inside my ear right now). This charming meal was followed by a familial stroll around the yard during which Kidwoods announced she was off to find some snow. Poor child thinks snow is her only outdoor toy. So long was she surrounded by nothing by ice, she now must adapt to the sponginess of dirt and grass and mud. She located this final mound of snow and proceeded to fling it around with her shovel and then stomp stomp stomp on top of it. As you do when you encounter the last of the last snows. At least, we hope it’s the last of the snows. It has to be, right?!? #toddler #parenting #inreallife #finalsnow #ihope

Ok I MAY have overreacted. The snow melted today, revealing spring underneath. We were able to return to our pressing activities of flame weeding the vegetable garden (Mr. FW’s pursuit) and making houses for recently-deceased worms (Kidwoods’ pursuit--we’re still working on the whole “gentle” thing... ). I myself am lauded and honored that I didn’t move us to Hawaii yesterday. #vermont #stillthinksimeanversace #imeanseriously

What we woke up to. I know I’m all “lean into the phase of life you’re in” and “don’t get angry about things you can’t change” and “complaints solve nothing“ and “everything happens for a reason” and “cherish every season because all too soon it’s over.” BUT COME ON. Mid-May snow disqualifies all these platitudes. Here we were, loving our grass, finding bugs in the house, getting mud on our toddlers, and ya know, thinking about planting vegetables. Now we’re rocketed back to January. Not cool, guys, not cool. I rate this 0 out of 10: do not snow again. #springsnow #notappreciated #vermont

What I would like to tell you today is that snow is predicted. For tomorrow. Which is May 14th. I don’t like to brag, but we just might be the last place in the contiguous USA to have snow in the forecast. We’re kind of a big deal up here in our mountainous, Vermont-y terrain. In other news, we’ve already taken the snowblower off the tractor, which is totally cool and won’t be a problem. At all. Really, I’m totally fine with this 😱. Totally. #springsnow #areyoukiddingme #treesareblooming #haveyounodecency

Happy Mother’s Day! Let me tell you how our day went. We slept late--amazing--but we had to hustle to get ready for church. Five minutes before scheduled departure, Mr. FW noticed a series of vicious splinters in Kidwoods’ hand--a result of yesterday’s outdoorsy-ness. The next 15 minutes were spent convincing Kidwoods to let us get near her with the tweezers. Tactics used: sit on daddy’s lap, sit on mama’s lap, sit between parents on couch, watch Tumble Leaf WHILE sitting on alternating parents’ laps, long conversations about how it will hurt but is necessary. After settling on sitting in mama’s lap while holding daddy’s hands, I then spent 35 seconds removing all splinters. Kidwoods: “Are you done? That tickled!” Next five minutes spent discussing how important it is for her to remember the lack of pain involved in splinter removal. Result? Splinter-free and 25 minutes late to church. For a service that’s only an hour long to begin with. No matter, that was plenty of time for Littlewoods to erupt--mid-sermon--in response to Kidwoods snatching the bag of cheerios. So loud was this scream that our pastor paused the sermon and said hello to Littlewoods by name. Everyone laughed, I bolted out the back door, spraying Cheerio dust in my wake. Other highlights: Kidwoods refusing to go to nursery, Littlewoods staging a baby tantrum on the floor at the back of the church, and grand finale: Kidwoods removing her dress during coffee hour and running around the sanctuary in her undies. How was your day? #mothersday #reallifeparenting #twokids #triplethemess

This kid. Outside nonstop from 10am-4pm today. Of course I had to drag her out of doors to begin with (screaming, clinging to my leg) but once in the fresh air, she didn’t want to stop. Her enthusiasm for “helping” has long outstripped her abilities, but she’s now entering that mystical phase where she can help and still wants to help. She hefted log after log to load the woodbox for the last time this season. We won’t burn this wood until fall and she’ll be able to boast until then of her assistance. I will point out that I forgot to put sunscreen on her, which I didn’t realize until bath time when I wondered why her cheeks were so red. I want her to keep this enthusiasm and courage and belief in her own strength. I want her to forever embody a three-year-old’s determination and hubris. I mean, not really, because I could do without the apocalyptic meltdowns over “broken” bananas (this being when you peel a banana far enough that it breaks in half, which toddlers everywhere will tell you is THE WORST thing that has EVER happened. EVER). But I want her to be bold. Fierce. Confident. Please help me make a world where that’s possible, rewarded, and true. #thefutureisfemale #toddler #threenager #parenting #inreallife

This is how we spent the day, Littlewoods and me. Living the dream. This small tufted one was down with a cold. Or a cough. And she demanded to be attached to me. I mean, who doesn’t want a sneezing baby strapped to their back for hours on end. Together we emptied the dishwasher, did laundry, folded laundry, wiped counters, prepared meals, wiped counters, served meals, hung laundry up to dry, wiped counters, confiscated a thermometer (?) from her older sister, and hey, wiped crumbs from another counter. There’s too much gloss on parenting. There’s too much glamour layered over hardcore momming. But you know what? It’s not glossy and it’s not glamourous. It’s challenging, exhausting, sticky, and stinky. I don’t want to gloss over it for you. I don’t want to pretend that days with my children are coordinated, backlit, pastel hued, and effortless. Because they’re not. We’re tired and messy. I mean please, I’m wearing pirate pajama pants here, which are neither pastel nor coordinated (though they are warm and hilarious). I want to extend a hand, an arm, a leg, whatever I can spare, to all my fellow mamas who are just trying to get through the day. Just trying to do good things for your kids while you’re sleep-deprived and weepy and hungry. It’s all ok and we’re all doing our best. Just know that I spent my day in these pants, with this sick little babe on my back. And you know what? I’m ok with that. More than ok, I’m happy about that. #parentinginreallife #babylife #attachedtomama

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