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Monday Q&A | Sweets, Energy, and Frugal Single Living

Every Monday, I answer a few of the questions that my readers send me. If you have a question you’d like me to answer in a future Q&A post, just leave me a comment here or email me (thefrugalgirl [at] gmail [dot] com) and put Q&A in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you!

You said that your kids are not big eaters – in fact no one in the house is. And now something sweet is what had gone bad (Frugal Girl’s note: I wasted a sliced of Blueberry Oatmeal bread). Do your kids just not particularly have a “thing” for sweets? How do you control, if that is at all needed, the eating when you make so much great food – especially the baking part? With four kids, how do you bake and not have it all gone in a heart beat?


Well, the problem in the case of this particular slice of bread is that it was in a cabinet, out of sight. If it had been out, it probably would have been eaten.

My kids definitely do have a “thing” for sweet foods, though, especially when it comes to desserts. I don’t set limits on things like muffins or quick breads, but I do on desserts. After each lunch and dinner meal, our kids are allowed to choose a small treat of some sort, provided they’ve eaten their main meal. This could be a cookie or a few Gummi Bears or a small candy bar. I know it’s considered to be healthier to never eat desserts, but I want my children to get used to eating desserts in moderation…I want them to know what it feels like to eat 1 or 2 cookies and to then stop, or to eat a small handful of Gummi Bears and then stop. If I never let them have sweets of any sort, I fear that they might go hog-wild when they do have the freedom to eat sweet foods.

I haven’t felt the need to set a limit on bread/muffin consumption because as I’ve mentioned before, when you have access to homemade baked goods on a regular basis, the urge to overeat is greatly reduced. After all, you know there will be more muffins and more rolls and more homemade bread coming! And though I sometimes make cinnamon rolls and other sweet breads, the majority of the baking I do consists of things like whole wheat bread or hamburger buns. Whole wheat bread is just not as tempting as cinnamon twists are, you know?

My children do not experience the temptation to gorge themselves on the main dish cooking that I do…they’d subsist entirely on side dishes if I let them! So, there’s definitely been no need to set limitations there. We do insist that they eat a child-sized serving of the main dish before having more side dishes, though.

I know that having lots of baked goods around the house wouldn’t work for everyone, but it’s been a happy thing for us, at least thus far. 🙂

I have wondered before how you have the ENERGY to do all you do. I am ready to nap by 2pm—sooner if I sit still trying to read or something. You are going from before 5am until bedtime. You do all the usual stuff to keep a family going plus refinish furniture, bake from scratch, sew, bless lots of people with photography, blog, homeschool, make freezer jam, devotional time, etc. When I go grocery shopping, I can’t imagine taking cute pictures of my groceries every week and then putting it up. I feel like it takes a long time to just put it away without that extra step. I am glad you do all this stuff but how do you have the energy—lots of protein? You secretly have a maid(ha ha)? Naps? I need a real secret here for tapping into your energy level if you have one.


Hee. No, I don’t have a maid (that wouldn’t be very frugal, would it??). 😉 A maid is actually very, very, very far down on my list of wishes and desires because I honestly don’t mind cleaning. I know it’s a good case of mindful spending for some people, but not for me.

And I despise taking naps…even when I had newborn babies, I rarely napped. I just am not a fan, and I have trouble going to sleep at night if I nap. The only time I’ve really napped in my adulthood is during my pregnancies. I had hyperemesis all 4 times, and I was so miserable during the first half of my pregnancies that I tried to stay unconscious as much as possible, so I slept a LOT.

I think I tend to be a naturally energetic person, and I come from a family that is fairly hardworking and ambitious…so, there’s genetics and family culture at work in me. Also, I make sleep at night a very high priority. Mr. FG’s schedule has been all over the map in our 13 years of marriage, but we’ve always adjusted our schedules so that we can get 8 hours of sleep each night. (Right now, that means we go to bed at 8:30 because our alarm goes off at 4:40 and during a particularly lousy stage in his career, we went to bed at 6:30 pm!) I consider a good night’s sleep to be an investment in the next day…skipping that investment would result in lower productivity the next day, so burning the midnight oil would be a foolish choice for me.

I have a simple, short series on productivity in the works, so stay tuned. Hopefully I can be productive enough to finish it soon! 😉

I am such a fan of your blog! I admire your cause and ability to help your family and others through simple and frugal living. I try my best to live this lifestyle to but sometimes find it hard being single. I am a college girl supporting and living on my own. Do you have any posts related to this?


I have exactly 0 years of experience living on my own…I lived with my family until I was 19, and then I married Mr. FG and moved into an apartment with him. So, I’ve never lived all by myself, and I am probably quite oblivious to the challenges faced by singles.

And it is true that a lot of frugal living blogs are written by people who are married and have children. However, I’m sure there are great frugal blogs out there written by single people…I’m just not aware of them. Readers, do you have some suggested blog reading for Lira? or do you have some good frugal-living-for-singles tips for her?

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Sarah D

Wednesday 16th of February 2011

I just read in your answer to the young single woman supporting herself through college that you got married at 19!! I know you probably hear this a lot, and I already commented in your Un-Riveting story post about how parallel our lives seem---but I'm just continually amazed at the similarities. I too was married at 19. I was homeschooled, have 4 children who are also homeschooled, I love Aldi, and had a really ordinary (non) "conversion" experience and financial history.

I can say wholeheartedly that I love your blog. It is spurring me on to good deeds--good deeds that I've been weary with lately. I stumbled up on this place quite by accident as I was searching for ground beef prices at Aldi. I've been in a really low place these last few months, weary with my repetitive, and seemingly mundane tasks. I've found encouragement and inspiration here (among other places)--just enough spark to spur me on again. Just knowing that there are others in the trenches just like I am helps me.

Thank you!!


Thursday 12th of August 2010

As far as kids and sugar goes---I do the same thing as you, Kristen. My son has a small serving of something sweet every day with his allergy medicine and vitamins, and since he knows it's coming, he doesn't beg me for sweets all day. (It might be a homemade brownie or some pudding or some candy, whatever he's in the mood for and is in the house.) If we're out and have an ice cream for special or whatever, he knows that the sweet with his medicine will then be tiny. He recently discovered the "Sweet Factory" store in our local mall (after walking past it for 9 years of his life and never noticing it!) so we bought candy there for the first time. He ate a little bit for a few days and actually forgot about it! The bag is still in the kitchen somewhere---out of sight, out of mind. When I was a kid, I would have sat down and eaten every piece and gotten good and sick over it, and then done it again the next time...


Saturday 7th of August 2010

I was wondering which curriculum you use with your kids. I was homeschooled as a child and my parents used an assortment for us, but I was wondering if you've found one curriculum you like for most every subject. Which did your parents use when you were a student?


Saturday 7th of August 2010

This girl is amazing: PS She's also a Christian.


Friday 6th of August 2010

Lira, if you're looking for frugal food tips, you're welcome to check out my blog. I've spent the summer eating on a $10/week budget (and posting about it), and even outside of this summer I tend to focus on frugal eating.

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