Zatera Ul


Filed under: Foofy, General, Parenthood, Pregnancy, The Naturally Frugal Baby — October 13, 2014 @ 4:55 pm

The problem with citing online resources is that they can change or disappear entirely without notice. But new ones can also pop up.

I was looking up some wrap tying instructions from, but they are no longer there, except perhaps in the book that they are now selling. However has some similar, although less comprehensive, instructions.

Since this relates to The Naturally Frugal Baby, I will throw in some other things I have been thinking about it. First of all, there are some ideas in there that even I don’t use any more: making wool diaper covers from recycled sweaters, wearing special shirts with homemade nursing openings, and avoiding sippy cups like the plague (although we still only have one for TBM, and we only put water in it).

The other thing is that the approach that I outline in the book has some obvious limitations. It doesn’t work well with disabilities, diseases, infertility, miscarriages, developmental abnormalities, special needs babies, and so on. I don’t have answers for those things, largely because I’ve never had to deal with any of them. Any pregnancy of mine that made it to three weeks has gone right on to full term and a healthy baby.

But I still think that the core idea is sound: modern society and modern medicine are making having children much more expensive, difficult, and even dangerous than necessary, and some of us are now being called back to the basics.

Fall has fell

Filed under: Christianity, Foofy, General, Parenthood, Politics, Projects — October 5, 2014 @ 7:59 pm

This has been a very busy season. I put almost all of my craft projects aside, except for allowing myself the freedom to create on Sundays. Lately I’ve been interested again in knitting; I relearned how to cross stitches and knitted a small swatch of a leaf pattern.

I still have been doing basic small repairs and maintenance, like solving The Mystery of the Slow Toilet: I thought that the outlet was partially clogged, but it turned out that the main water inlet into the bowl was crusted over with minerals.

OLC and I survived her first standardized test. It was a bit too long for us. I can’t imagine how they administer these to whole rooms full of squirmy little children.

Once again, MFH had to work late on the day of the first frost, and so I ended up out in the garden, harvesting in the dark. Peppers are easier to find by feel than by flashlight, and vice versa for tomatoes.

We’ve been watching a house in the neighborhood that is being renovated by flippers. They painted it a color that I am calling “Dead Fish Belly”. I have not been following color trends much, but they still seem to be stuck in a recession-inducing dead end.

I finished a painting in acrylics, of a bit of scenery that has meaning to me even if I can’t depict it very well, and then I found a mat for it at Axman Surplus, and cobbled together a frame from scrap plywood and copper strapping and computer screws.

In my last spurt of finishing up loose ends of projects, I cast the remaining two-thirds of my bag of concrete mix, and made myself a couple of heavier weights for lifting. I am building some nice muscles with them, but I also bruised my toe last week.

I also finally got to the optometrist and got a new prescription for glasses…bifocals for the first time. But I think I am going to go back to monofocal lenses, because the near vision only works well for things that are right up near my face, and with small children and cooking and reading and crafts I do a lot of looking down at things that are at middle distance.

This past year has brought up all sorts of old wounds; part of the fun of turning forty. I’ve been thinking of the question that Jesus asked blind Bartimaeus (”What do you want me to do for you?”) and I have a hard time answering that for my own self.


Filed under: Christianity, Foofy, General, Projects, The Naturally Frugal Baby — September 6, 2014 @ 7:17 pm

I’m in a mood to list all of our furniture, and what we paid. This is because I’ve just come from the blog of She Who Somehow Has Everything and Then Some (whom I envy until I remember that she must be leveraged up to HERE, and never seems to experience any Hebrews 12:6 difficulties).

Coat closet:

2 wood crates: handed down from families
large mirror: goes with dresser set in living room
braided rug by door: made from rummage sale scraps

Dining room:

table–recycled door on recycled 2×4 base: free parts, which I assembled
2 wood dining chairs: handed down from mother-in-law
1 wood chair: from MFH’s work’s basement cleanout
2 metal chairs with vinyl seats from yard sale: $1 each
high chair: baby shower gift
2 tall Ikea bookshelves: wedding gift from mother-in-law
another large bookshelf: trashpicked
small bookshelf: handed down from MFH’s grandma
dresser: $25 from yard sale
2 desk drawers, stacked, as small bookshelf: trashpicked
small wool rug by door: from mother-in-law
small braided rug: made from old blue jeans

Living room:

couch–built from recycled wood, upholstered in new foam and upholstery scraps, and just finished with Danish oil: about $175
chair: bought from Salvation Army for $80 along with the original couch
console: trashpicked
dressers for storage and entertainment stand: from downsizing neighbor
coffee table: mother-in-law bought at yard sale for $5, I refinished the top with linseed oil
rug: handed down from mother-in-law
tall, narrow bookshelf: one of a pair I built for about $50

Kids’ room:

loft: the seventh or eighth incarnation of the loft bed I built eleven years ago, original cost was about $120
little loft: built from scraps, leftovers, and handed-down wood
crib mattress on little loft (no one sleeps there): handed down from mother-in-law’s neighbor
dress-up bin: $20 potato bin from thrift store
large and small dressers: trashpicked and painted with leftover paint
small table used as desk: trashpicked
kid-sized rocking chair: I don’t know where MFH picked this up
mattress and box spring: from downsizing neighbor


tall bookshelf on side as headboard: mate to the one in the living room
large mattress: $1800, one of our more expensive mistakes
twin futon mattress: $300,
twin foam mattress: Ikea, $80
large dresser: handed down from friend
tall, narrow dresser: $15 at estate sale, painted with leftover paint
low, wide dresser used as changing table: handed down by mother-in-law
small bookshelf: indirectly handed down from MFH’s grandma


desk: MFH has had since childhood
large bookshelf: built for about $90
another large bookshelf: built for about $80
typewriter stand: $2 from yard sale
bookshelf: handed down from MFH’s dad
small shelf: built from scrap wood
bookshelf: trashpicked, I think
second typewriter stand, supporting a table top: I don’t know where MFH got this


large mirror: trashpicked


workbench: this used to be our movable kitchen counter/shelf unit, cost about $110 to build
small workbench: potting bench from downsizing neighbor
small bookshelf: also from downsizing neighbor
wood folding chair: $5 from yard sale
metal folding chair: from neighbor, I think
wood chair: yard sale find by MFH
3 director’s chairs: free from a community recycling event
2 metal shelving units that MFH had when we got married, probably bought new
small wire shelf: trashpicked
wood bookshelf: built from scrap wood
shelf that would bridge the Ikea bookshelves in the dining room if we had a room that was wide enough: wedding gift from mother-in-law


rocking chair: handed down by mother-in-law
end table: given to us by former neighbor
kid’s chair: $1 at thrift store
another kid’s chair: Christmas gifts
easel: gift from mother-in-law’s neighbor
3 lawn chairs from neighbor

As you can see, I am fortunate to have a mother-in-law with good taste in furnishings. And a God who sometimes provides in rather devious ways.

Ever growing

Filed under: Christianity, Foofy, General, Parenthood, Projects — July 30, 2014 @ 7:50 am

The mushrooms had a few more spurts, including one unhappy day where it took me half an hour to clean out about three gallons’ worth, but now they have died down again. Thank God.

Then I declared war on the plantain (which was the clear winner this year in the race to populate the bare spots in the yard), and cleared it out of several large patches.

I’ve also been trying to work to the bottom of my stack of sewing projects. I made two wrap skirts, and a case for MFH’s bass guitar. The case still needs some cording and a very long zipper.

The garden has been doing well, although it is dominated by the milkweed that we left for butterfly habitat. The peas have been especially productive. MFH planted them along the edge of the garden, so that the plants can climb the fencing, and so the children can gather them easily. Our garden is a series of wide raised beds, and it is difficult to navigate when it is in full green.

I learned that sometimes gas lines are accidentally are laid right through sewer lines.

From the internet I’ve also learned that the path to better health and social dominance is to lift weights. Always looking for the DIY solution, I bought a bag of concrete mix ($4), mixed up one-third of the bag, and cast myself a pair of weights in plastic containers. I put a piece of 2×2 in the center of each weight to use as a handle. I can drill or burn these out later, if I want. I am planning to cast a couple of larger weights.

Recently our church took a bold step forward, and gave MFH the key to the church sign, which is the kind with movable letters. He’s been finding some good words to put up on it; Twitter has trained him well for the necessary brevity.

Room to breathe

Filed under: Christianity, General, Politics, Projects, The Serendipitous Sabbatical — July 8, 2014 @ 1:22 pm

Fantastic post from Claire Wolfe on saying No:

Unfortunately, we “can’t say no” people usually end up somewhere in the bottom-middle or middle-bottom of whatever field we’re in. Because we don’t allow ourselves the ego-time to dream. To dream, dive fully into things, and work our buns off on our own priorities.

Again, it’s our own doing when we don’t reserve self-time. But how dare all those people keep trying to pull us off our path? To pull us past our very own (repeated) declarations of NO so we can serve their priorities? Why don’t they hear us the first time? Or the second? Or the third? Why do they put us in the position where we’re the bad guys if we don’t go along — again — with what they want?

Oh, but the needs are urgent! The causes profound! (And they often really are; charity being the natural profession for this sort of importuning.) You’re the only one who can do it! Your talents are so vital! And after all, “It’s just this one time …”

But the implication — and this is really weird when you think about it — the implication is that you’re so good (or so irreplaceable or so uniquely talented or such an excellent organizer or such a good guy) that YOU DON’T COUNT.

Then there is this little something else I read this morning (by Randy Alcorn):

We need to neglect doing the things that countless people want us to do, so that we will be available to do what God wants.

And sometimes He speaks in a still small voice, while people speak in a big LOUD voice. We have to make sure we’re listening. To do that, we need to put our ear to His Word and pray and seek His face.

I want to be available to listen to God and follow Him when He gives me those totally unexpected divine appointments.

But if I’m booked so tight there’s no room in my schedule for unanticipated God moments, I’ll miss them, and thereby miss some of life’s greatest joys and opportunities and occasions for gratitude.

The pile of poisonesses

Filed under: Foofy, General, Parenthood, Projects — July 4, 2014 @ 8:18 am

That is what StrongBoy calls the place out behind the garage where I’ve been putting all the mushrooms from the yard. TBM is at just the right age for sampling random delicacies found on the ground, and this has been an outstanding year for mushrooms, so I’ve been picking a pound or two or more of them every day. The last two days I haven’t found any, and I hope they are done for the year!

I finished up a handsewing project, and it turned out well. I also did a porch makeover; somehow it keeps turning into a big closet with windows.

There was a family of six bunnies in the yard this morning. Not in the garden, fortunately for them.

Weeding, sewing, reading, and music

Filed under: Foofy, General, Parenthood, Projects — June 9, 2014 @ 6:10 pm

Our landlords, when they lived here, put in a large flower garden in the Lots of Mulch style (wood chip mulch). For several years, the mulch worked well to keep the weeds down, but now it is starting to rot down and actually become compost for the weeds. So weeding has become a bit of a chore. This year, I have started just raking the mulch off the garden, section by section, attacking and laying waste to the weeds in the layer they are sprouting in, and then putting the top layer of mulch back. This is a lot faster and easier than picking only the surface weeds.

My mother-in-law gave me some nice linen fabric. I measured myself and drew up a pattern, and now I am sewing pants by hand. It is very pleasant to sit out in the back yard and sew. Hand sewing is also more tolerant of interruptions than machine sewing is.

We also have been going to the Christian Resource Center homeschool library. It is a small, private Christian library with a good collection. I especially like that it is a library which displays as many actual physical books as possible in their limited space. Our public libraries have pathetically sparse bookshelves for their square footage, and too many computers, and we have not had an easy time dragging our children away from the computers to pay attention to the books.

Our neighbor has been downsizing, and gave us his digital piano. Our peninsula counter in the kitchen is the only place where it fits well, but it is nice to be able to wander over and play a little whenever the notion strikes.

I am the last person on Earth who should be surprised about this

Filed under: Foofy, General, Parenthood, The Serendipitous Sabbatical — May 20, 2014 @ 12:23 pm

Behold: the sabbatical from school.

Still working through the blogging backlog

Filed under: Christianity, Foofy, General, Parenthood, Projects, Science, The Naturally Frugal Baby — May 14, 2014 @ 10:38 am

As I recently told MFH, “The only reason the revolution hasn’t started yet is that everyone is too busy preparing for the coming collapse.”


I had a good Mother’s Day. I noticed that my leather-bound journal now has a splatter of glitter paint across the cover; sparkles aren’t usually my style, but I appreciate them.


We have a book called The Lemming Conspiracy: How to Redirect Your Life from Stress to Balance. It is a typical self-help book, but in it I found something useful; four approaches toward work and problem-solving:

Managing the details
Managing the big picture
Brainstorming (generating new ideas)
Experience (re-using old ideas)

The idea being that even if someone isn’t talented in any of the first three methods, they can still get ahead if they make good use of the fourth; when all else fails, fall back on experience. I am actually not at all good at brainstorming, except by just abstractly flipping through various combinations of possibilities.


I also read recently some exhortations toward a very regularized physical routine of eating and sleeping and so on. I immediately thought of a counter-example: Jesus forgoing sleep to have time for prayer. Babies, too, have reasons why they might not sleep on schedule: gas, disruption of the regular routine (church is a major culprit here), illness, exciting new developmental stages, teething, neighborhood noise. It would be ideal if conditions were ideal, but they’re not. So some flexibility is necessary.


The most powerful thing that I’ve personally seen God do: He has on two occasions given me a mental block to keep me from dwelling on some unhelpful thoughts; one temporary, and the other more permanent. In both cases, I could/can think about the fact that I could not/cannot think about those things, but only for a moment, and then my mind automatically changes the subject. It is very strange, but true.


Another thing I told MFH: I’m not good at managing abundance. Scarcity I understand, and how to leverage limited resources, but I am at a loss when the barns are full to bursting.


Blogger Seth Roberts recently died; the third blogger that I followed closely to have died-after Cathy Seipp and Barbara Curtis.

Where in the world

Filed under: Christianity, Foofy, General, Parenthood, Projects — May 8, 2014 @ 6:43 pm

Mostly, I’ve just been at home. Recent projects:

Rebuilding muscle strength as the tendonitis slowly recedes.

Church work that is giving my INTJ brain a lot to think about.

Embroidering a skirt with one of my stencil designs. Embroidery makes a big impact, for not very much in time and materials.

Measuring the skirts I have to try to determine my “ideal” skirt length. (It varies somewhat by the cut of the skirt and the drape of the fabric.)

Spring yard work–MFH plants and manages the vegetable garden, and I do almost everything else.

Diet changes: I feel better when I avoid unfermented dairy products and also gluten.

Assimilating some handed-down household treasures from MFH’s mom.

Homeschool: I keep a brief log of homeschool activities, and I can see that we have covered an awful lot in the past weeks, even under an unschooling model.

Nothing: Playing a lot of my favorite online game, just as a break from constant activity.