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Q&A | What happened 10 years ago? Will I always be frugal? Plus, homeschooling with a baby

I’m currently waiting on some readers to send back their completed interviews, so we’ll do a Q&A post today instead! And of course, if you want to do a Meet a Reader post, just let me know, and I can email the questions on over to you. 🙂

As I’ve been reading the Meet a Reader posts, I noticed that nearly all of your readers (myself included!) seem to have found your blog in some mysterious way about 10 years ago, but apparently none of us can remember how.

Kristen helping Zoe on the playground.

Zoe and me about ten years ago

Do you have any thoughts on what led us to you? Was your blog featured somewhere significant or did you have a viral Pinterest post? All I can remember is that it was right after I got married so probably 2010-2011.

Kristen taking a photo of herself in a mirror.


It’s fine if you don’t, I just think it’s so interesting to see that as a recurring theme in your reader highlight posts!


This is a good question; I’m not sure! 10 years ago would be 2012….I had a TV spot in 2010, but that was twelve years ago.

I wonder if maybe blogs were getting more popular in 2012, so a lot of people just happened across mine around then, since it was already an established 4-year-old blog by then? 

Maybe all my 10-year readers can chime in and answer! 

Hi Kristen,
I was wondering if you could give me some advice about homeschooling. My daughter is finishing up her kindergarten year and we have decided to continue with homeschooling for first grade. I’m due with our fourth baby mid August and I’m trying to decide how to plan for that. I’m debating about homeschooling through the summer so we have some cushion in our “required 180 days” for the state.A sonogram photo.

I really don’t want to go through the summer but I’m just not sure what homeschooling will look like with a newborn. Our state is pretty lenient when it comes to homeschooling laws but I would like for us to get in the right number of days.

Just curious what you would do? Have you ever started early to give more time? Have you had a newborn while homeschooling?

Also, I did take some time off in January and February of this past school year due to my morning sickness. It was rough. We still managed to be on track with going into first grade work though.

Any advice would be great!


I have not ever started in the summer, but that’s mostly a timing thing for me. For instance, Zoe was born in February, and then Lisey started kindergarten in the fall of that year. So, no need to start ahead of time.

I haven’t done homeschooling with a brand new baby, but I have done it with babies six months and under and with a toddler/preschooler around as well.

A baby in a hospital blanket.

Once you get past the super duper labor-intensive weeks of newborn care, I think infants are not TOO hard to do school around. You can hold them or put them in a sling or a bouncy seat, and that’s a pretty workable way to do school.

Sonia 10 days old

Here’s what was my biggest hurdle: whoever was the toddler/preschooler at the time.

Toddlers are much harder to manage during schoolwork because they don’t sit still, they’re not very quiet, and they can get into mischief in a hurry.

Three girls in a crib

The blonde one in the middle there: that’s a high-maintenance age!

So, my solution was to mostly do school in the afternoons, when the toddler was napping. That way, I only had to manage the baby and the school-age kid(s).

As I’m sure you discovered, you do not need an entire day to do early-grade work with a homeschooled kid. We generally got our tablework for kindergarten done in an hour or so, and first grade wasn’t terribly different. 

And that means that if you start right when your toddler goes down for a nap, you can be reasonably sure that you will have enough time to knock out the bookwork without the toddler.

I know it kind of sucks to give up the toddler nap time by devoting it to schoolwork, but I always thought that was less miserable than trying to do school with a toddler underfoot! 😉 

I also think that if you are just doing first grade, you can feel free to give yourself some light days. It’s not like you’re trying to cover high school chemistry at this point, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If you get the basics done, your kids will probably be fine.

homeschooling Sonia reading

Ultimately, you know yourself better than me. If you are going to feel super stressed about taking some time off post-baby, then maybe you should do some days of school in the summer, just to get ahead.

You could do three mornings a week or something like that (so you still have time to enjoy summer activities!), and then you might feel like you have more wiggle room to rest once the baby arrives.

How long do you expect to be frugal?

-Battra (this was one when I made a post asking for reader question ideas!)

I imagine that I will be frugal (at least to some extent) for the rest of my life. 

I don’t really know quite what my future holds right now, but I’m guessing frugality will become a bit more necessary for me, at least temporarily. 

But honestly, no matter my financial situation, I think I am always going to want to manage my money wisely, and I will always be looking for ways to do things more cheaply. I always have an eye out for a discount/freebie/DIY angle.

A freshly-stained table leaf.

If my financial situation is tight for a while, my frugality will enable me to survive and thrive without debt (because I know how to live a good life on a tight budget.)

And if my financial situation gets better, my frugality will enable me to save, invest, and give more.

Plus, there are lots of good reasons to maintain frugal habits even when it’s not strictly “necessary” financially. For instance, lots of frugal habits are also healthier for humans (cooking at home) and healthier for the environment (avoiding disposable products/purchasing things that could be heirlooms).

So, yeah…I envision 85-year-old Kristen will still be mending and getting birthday freebies at local restaurants. 😉

Readers, if you have input on any of these questions, please do share in the comments.

P.S. Got a question for me? Send me an email ( and I can include your question in a future Q&A post. 

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Thursday 5th of May 2022

I believe I started reading FG in 2008. I don't remember how I found it, I do know I've read every blog post, including the ones on her old website. I'm in the minority that misses FWF.

Annie's point that "There’s a difference between saving as much money as possible and choosing to spend your money in the way that supports what you want to do in a responsible way" also describes my outlook as well. Money is a tool rather than a goal in and of itself, and I'm going to use it to make my life as I want it - both now and in the future. (That's the main disagreement I have with "The Millionaire Next Door," which seems to regard wealth as the main goal.)

Right now that means buying time and reducing effort by spending money, but never mindlessly. I also find that frugality is a habit that can be hard to break: I still argue with myself that it's really OK to buy, say, sliced apples instead of cutting my own for a trip.


Wednesday 4th of May 2022

I also found the blog about 10 years ago, not sure how!!

Maybe for the yogurt recipe!


Tuesday 3rd of May 2022

I think I found you because Katy linked to you - searching her blog I'm pretty sure it was that homemade yoghurt post!


Tuesday 3rd of May 2022

I have a question! What are you, and your readers, favorite birthday freebies?


Tuesday 3rd of May 2022

Well, I usually make it a habit to sign up for reward clubs wherever I go, and then I wait and see what happens on my birthday! ;)

Starbucks gives you a free any-size drink on your birthday, so I always redeem that one. And local restaurants have been very kind to me this year.


Tuesday 3rd of May 2022

I know I started reading your blog when I was in graduate school so sometime between 2005-2010. I was really into making things from scratch at the time so I want to say the gateway posts into your blog were likely the bread or yogurt ones.

It's funny I still consider myself to have a frugal mindset even though to anyone looking at our life now we must seem so extravagant. Part of this is due to my husband who is definitely not frugal or inclined to frugality. But part of it is also due to the stage of life we are currently in, where time is the most limited commodity we have. So we pay for grocery delivery (which has been amazing actually because it cuts down completely on the impulse buys and makes it easier to meal plan) and weekly housecleaning and it makes life run much more smoothly.

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