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A Day In The Life Of The Frugal Girl (School Year Edition)

First, I wanted to say thank you for all of your input on yesterday’s post! I’ll probably post a summary of yesterday’s comments at some point, but one thing that a lot of you requested was more about my day-to-day activities. Happily, a few weeks ago I jotted down what I did all day. So today, I present to you (in glaring detail) the activities of a grocery shopping day at our house.


4:45-I wake up to the sound of my husband showering. I don’t know how I always miss the alarm going off at 4:40! I hop out of bed, set up the ironing board, turn on the iron, and start to make the bed. Then it occurs to me that though I need to wash the sheets tomorrow, the weather isn’t supposed to be very sunny, so I decide to strip the bed and wash the sheets today.

After I throw the sheets into the washer, I iron my husband’s work clothes (ideally I’d have them ironed ahead of time, but my life is not ideal!). I also have time to iron a few other items of clothing.

5:05-My husband and I head to the kitchen where he get himself some breakfast and I pack his lunch. After he leaves for work, I clean up the small mess I made in the kitchen and do a quick check of my email, Twitter, and Facebook.

5:30-I take a shower, put my makeup on, and get dressed. I also straighten up our bedroom (as my mother is fond of saying, “Maintenance is key.”).

6:00-I read my Bible, and my current book and pray.

6:35-I head to the computer to write today’s blog post. I get distracted answering some emails first, though. I try to have at least a draft of a blog post done ahead of time, but today I’m starting from scratch. While I’m writing, Sonia and Zoe wake up in cranky moods and come downstairs. After multiple interruptions and several episodes of disciplinary intervention, they finally settle in upstairs to patiently wait.

7:35-I’m done at the computer (late this morning, due to a more time-consuming blog post! Normally I try to be done by 7:00), and I go tell the kids to get dressed. I have to dig in some drawers to find some winter clothes for several of them, as I’ve only switched seasons with Joshua’s clothes.

I make oatmeal for breakfast and while it’s cooking, I braid Zoe and Sonia’s hair. While we eat breakfast, we usually listen to a CD of classical music. This week, we’re listening to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

I clean up breakfast and do dishes, and we’re just about ready to start school.

8:30-I start to go outside to hang my sheets up to dry, and get distracted with a random decluttering project. But yay, it looks nice and clean there now!

9:00-I finally hang the sheets up and we start school. I send Lisey to practice the piano and after I get Sonia started on her work I remember I have to publish my Ragu review. I work on that while Sonia does her math.

9:15-I bounce back and forth between helping Lisey with a piano song and helping Sonia with her math. As happens so often, I begin to think how much easier life would be if there were two of me. I help Sonia with her handwriting, help a super-distressed Joshua with his math, and break up a fight between Sonia and Zoe.

9:30-I sit down to write what I’ve done so far today, because otherwise I’ll forget!

9:45-I help Sonia write a journal and we make a new letter card. P is the new letter today. We review all her previous letter cards. I put a homeschool teacher’s edition book outside to be picked up by a freecycler.

10:00-I throw a new load of laundry into the washer and check some of Lisey’s schoolwork. In checking Joshua’s math, I make the distressing discovery that halfway through his math lesson, he started doing the lesson from yesterday. I review catechism questions with all four kids and read a chapter of Little Town on the Prairie out loud to all of them.

10:30-I rummage around in the freezer for some sort of bread for lunch. Normally I’d make muffins or pancakes when we’re this low on bread, but I have exactly 0 eggs. Bummer. I have a really empty fridge post-vacation. I publish a post for the Self Reliance Exchange blog that I contribute to, and get Lisey started on her science reading. After she reads it, I talk to her about what she read and help her think about what to type in her science journal (each day she writes down three things she’s learned from her science reading).

11:00-I hang the second load of laundry out to dry, and then we have lunch (I found some bread in the freezer) because we all are starving (maybe we need to add some fat to our oatmeal!). We listen to Fall and Winter from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons while we eat, and I make my grocery list from the menu I planned yesterday.

12:00-lunch is done and cleaned up, and I work on getting everyone ready to go grocery shopping. I sit down to get some checks ready to take to the bank and am interrupted by fight #5482 of the day between Sonia and Zoe. After administering some consequences for some rule-breaking (rules such as, “Don’t shriek at your sister.” In cases like these, I help the offending party to think of something kind to do to the offended sibling, such as giving their dessert to the offended sibling at the next meal.), I finally get the checks ready.

1:00-We leave to go grocery shopping. First stop: the gas station that offers $.05/gallon off on Thursday. Then it’s on to Goodwill, where we found a couple of great things we’ve been needing ($5 Lands End boots for Lisey and two camis for me). Aldi is next, and then Weis. Finally, we stop at the bank to deposit some checks.

3:00-we arrive at home, unload the groceries, arrange them on the floor so I can take a picture for Saturday’s post, and then I put them all away and fold up our reusable bags.

3:30-I take a break to check my email and to write down what we’ve been doing.

3:45-I chat with my husband (he gets home from work mid afternoon), finish checking more school work, put away a few more groceries, have the kids clean their rooms (they have to clean them after school before they can go out and play), help children get shoes on so they can play outside, and make some soup and cornbread for dinner, documenting the process in pictures (so I can share with you in the future!).

5:30-We eat dinner together.

6:15-We clean up dinner and do the dishes, and Lisey sweeps the dining room (Joshua sweeps at lunchtime).

6:45-I fold some laundry, and supervise the kids as they get their pjs on and brush their teeth. Only Zoe needs much in the way of help at this point, which is nice.

7:00-We all gather in the living room for Family Worship. We read a small section of the Bible (we’re reading Psalms right now), talk about it, and then one person prays (we each take a turn, even Zoe). Since we have small kids, we keep it short.

7:15-I read a story out loud to Sonia and Zoe and get them tucked into bed (often I tuck Zoe in and my husband tucks Sonia in).

7:30-The two younger ones are in bed, and Joshua and Lisey head back to Joshua’s bedroom to read or play quietly until their respective bedtimes. This gives my husband and me a child-free hour each evening. This is particularly important for my husband’s sanity, as without it, the kids would be around the entire time he’s home (I get some child-free time in the morning). Sometimes we go to bed early, sometimes we read together, sometimes we do separate stuff. I don’t remember what we did this particular night.

8:15-I start to get ready for bed and realize that our sheets are still hanging outside on the line. Nuts. I run outside, take the sheets down and put them on our bed.

8:30-My husband and I go to bed. This is a ridiculously early bedtime, I know, but the alarm goes off at 4:40 am, so we have to turn in at this time in order to get 8 hours of sleep.


So, there you have it…a typical slice of my life. Not every day goes exactly like this, of course…some go better, and some don’t go as well. Some days I’m more productive, and some days I just don’t get as much done. Some days I stay home entirely, and other days I have to be out and about. Some days I don’t do any paid work, and some days I do a lot of it.

Honestly, there are hardly ever two days that are the same in my life (who said being a stay at home mom was boring, anyways?), so I’ll keep doing posts like these on a random basis. Perhaps my next one will chronicle a day in December.

P.S.-If you’d like to get a glimpse into a summer day at our house, check out my last post of this sort.

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Tuesday 25th of February 2014

Why do you put makeup on if you're not going anywhere special?Wouldn't it be more frugal (and much nicer to your skin) if you took that routine out?


Tuesday 25th of February 2014

Well, I don't put on my (minimal) makeup or get dressed just for special occasions...part of it is just for me! And also, even if I don't go anywhere, my husband still sees me and that matters to me.

I think that by using this logic, I could schlep around the house with messy hair, no makeup, and old ratty clothes. It's true that I could do that, and it would save me money, but I wouldn't feel good if I did that.

But to each their own-I'd never tell someone that they have to put on makeup.


Saturday 7th of September 2013

I commend you on gracefully answering the negative responses. YOU rock!


Wednesday 18th of January 2012

You iron your husband's clothes, make his lunch and he needs one hour of children free time each night? Im not sure what to think about this except Im very sorry for you. You are with children all day every day and he needs an hour of kid-free time at home? Please wake up.


Wednesday 18th of January 2012

Oh, you shouldn't feel sorry for me! I have a very happy life. :)

Regarding the hour I set aside to spend with my husband, please don't think that's just for him. *I* like spending time with him too, and I appreciate having some kid-free time to spend together. I highly recommend it!


Tuesday 19th of April 2011

Thanks so much- your blog is so helpful and inspiring, and I loved reading this post. On the other hand I have to confess it made me feel a bit inadequate...or lazy...or guilty? (e.g., I never iron or hang laundry and yet ask so much more of my husband). I'm leaning toward homeschooling our two kids, but can't figure out if your post made me feel more or less capable... homeschooling moms seem like superwomen. In any case, THANK YOU for your honesty and humble service to your family and the Lord!


Monday 1st of October 2012

I know this was posted a while back but I have to respond to this comment. Charis, (or anyone else who may think they can't replicate Kristen's life) please don't let anyone else's experience with homeschooling discourage you from doing it or at least giving it a try! There is no *right* way to do it. I am so far from 'supermom' or 'superwife' status (in my house, my husband does a LOT of the basic cleaning while I tend to focus on the kids and their learning) and I wasn't sure if I could handle homeschooling either, but now into my third year I am more confident than ever, and we don't follow any curriculum or 'sit and learn' at any specific times. My 13 year old daughter does her learning online, my second daughter goes to public school and my son is completely unschooled. This works for us. It might not work for you. Kristen's life wouldn't work for me, but I can read her posts, get ideas and leave what doesn't work.

My son has Asperger's and the fights with the school for support (in order to try and to force him to fit their agendas) are now a thing of the past and he is free to be himself. I couldn't have asked for a bigger blessing! He learns what he wants and he is doing great!!

Give it a try if you really want to know if homeschooling will work for your family. You won't know otherwise. At the end of the day, if you decide to send them back, you will still all have learned something, which is exactly what successful homeschoolers know... learning is learning and life is full of opportunities to learn things that are not always taught in school.


Wednesday 2nd of March 2011

Loved reading about your day. I homeschool two boys....but I'm old and achy and do not get all that you get done. Even so....our days are full and happy. Homeschooling is a wonderful way to live a life. It sounds like you are enjoying your job as teacher, trainer, mentor, mother and wife. There is nothing more important in this world that you could be doing!! You are an inspiration and encouragement to many. Blessings, Anne

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