Preowned Power Wheels And Other April 2020 Expenditures

Household Supplies Line Item Revealed

Scotch tape in use

If you’ve ever wanted to see our “household supplies” line item illuminated item by mundane item, then this is the month for you! Due to the pandemic, we’ve curtailed our in-store shopping and now buy everything we possibly can via cyber space. If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “wow, Mrs. Frugalwoods lives a life of glamour,” this month’s expenses back that up. 100%. Thanks to the specificity of online shopping, you now have the unique privilege (burden?) of seeing that we spent $4.66 on lip balm and $14.81 on scotch tape.

In what was either an excellent or moronic decision, we gave Kidwoods her own roll of scotch tape. A week later, I found myself on Amazon ordering 12 refill rolls in a house surrounded by artwork taped (with 19 pieces of tape each) to every wall surface accessible to a person who is four years old.

I also bought a spatula for $5.50. Because I snapped our previous spatula in half while closing the kitchen drawer with my foot. Yes, for some reason we only have one spatula in our home, I close drawers with feet, and we own four different whisks. Why is this? We do not know. But we do now know such things because we’ve been isolated in our home for 63 days.

Although, who is counting? Me. I am counting and I really thought it was going to be a larger number based on the fact that the month of April was 97 days long.

Advertiser Disclosure: Frugalwoods partners with CardRatings for coverage of credit card products. Frugalwoods and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers at no extra cost to you. Here’s a boring (but important) explanation of how Frugalwoods makes money.

Car-Related Purchases When You’re Driving Nowhere

This is a CLEAN vehicle, people and these are NEW car seats. NO ONE GET INSIDE!

Since we’re going nowhere, April was obviously the month to buy new carseats for the kids. And since we bought new carseats, I was compelled to clean out both cars (excavate might be more apt). It was my accomplishment of quarantine.

The car cleaning was prompted by the purchase of two new carseats; the two new carseats were prompted by the fact that one of my friends just had a baby and I gave her Littlewoods’ infant carseat.

Littlewoods–true to her moniker–is a righteous peanut of a two-year-old and still met the weight and height limitations of the infant bucket. Nevertheless, I wanted to offload the infant bucket because:

  1. It’s not yet expired and I wanted another family to get use out of it before it expires.
  2. I wanted to hand the carseat down to a family that can really use it–and use it right away!
  3. Littlewoods was not thrilled about her positioning in an infant bucket and declares that she is not a baby.
  4. Kidwoods’ carseat (a hand-me-down to us) recently expired.
  5. Why buy one super expensive thing when you can buy TWO?????!!!!

I’ve been playing the carseat rotation game since Kidwoods was born by sharing/swapping/handing down carseats with friends to avoid everyone spending $9,890 every few years on carseats. But the jig was finally up because:

I made a solemn vow to never switch carseats between our two cars.

My husband and kids sitting on the tailgate of the truck because I wouldn’t let any of them touch the cleanly interior.

We have two hand-me-down carseats installed in our truck, but I wanted–nay, required–two for the Prius too. Call me a profligate spendthrift, but I refuse to heft and swap carseats between our two cars.

After cleaning the cars, I was overcome with a desire to delay the need to ever clean them again, so we bought a backseat cover for the truck (already have one in the Prius) and kick-mats for the backs of the passenger seats.

I’ve also issued a decree that no one (no matter their age or hangry-ness) can ever eat food inside of our cars ever again.

Obvious Necessities: Two Used Power Wheels

I love my husband for many reasons: his sourdough bread baking, his intellect, his wit, charm, work ethic, chainsaw skills. But perhaps the number one reason I love him are his Saved Craigslist Searches. Never has a man set traps so carefully and waited so long for them to bear fruit.

Thrilled beyond belief with their used power wheels

My husband takes the 72-hour waiting period before buying to the next level. He once waited three years to buy a snow plow. He waited two years to buy a tree winch. What are those things? Oh, don’t you worry, I’ll tell you in a moment. His commitment to the used market surpasses perhaps even my own–profligate as I am in breaking and buying spatulas. His latest Saved Craigslist Search to come to fruition: two identical power wheels cars for the kids at a scant $70 total. That’d be $35 each. And they work.

A lover of vehicles and engineering, I believe his primary motivation for having kids was the ability to one day put them in power wheels and teach them to cruise around and tinker with the engines when they (inevitably and often) break down. Well, his parenting dream was realized in April. Power wheels are totally, obviously not a necessity, but wow are they cool.

Due to the lack of school, daycare, play dates, friends, summer camp, swim lessons, beach, travel, visitors, or really leaving our property at all, we felt like this was the summer to invest in outdoor play infrastructure for our kids. They seem to agree although Littlewoods does not seem to trust Kidwoods’ driving, but is too short to reach the pedal on her own. Thus they sometimes settle on a joint driving maneuver whereby Littlewoods steers and Kidwoods presses the gas pedal, even though that ends in–you guessed it–tears all around.

These things appear to retail new for the astronomical price of many hundreds of dollars, which I was not willing to spend. But $35? Sign me right on up. If you’re not shopping used, but I’ve piqued your interest, check out this post: How To Find Anything and Everything Used: A Compendium Of Frugal Treasure Hunting.

Ok here’s the stuff about the winch, plow, and other successful long-term saved Craigslist searches:

  • Logging winch (attaches to tractor): purchased in July 2018 in excellent used condition for $1,900. Brand is a Norse 350 and it retails new for $2,600. Wondering what a logging winch is? Here you go.
  • Sawstop table saw: purchased in April 2018 in good used condition for $1,200. Retails new for $1,800+.
  • Snow plow (attaches to tractor): purchased in January 2020 in excellent used condition for $430. It’s a 7-foot, quick-attach, trip-edge plow with manual angle. If purchased new, these plows run anywhere from $1,800-$2,500.
  • Two power wheels: purchased in April 2020 for $70 total; retail new for circa $400 each.

The Uber Frugal Week: A Pandemic-Style Series

Mr. FW’s homemade pandemic sourdough

As I’m sure you already know, I started an Uber Frugal Week series designed to help folks navigate their finances during the pandemic. The posts appear right here on the blog and you can start with Day 1 here.

So far in the series I’ve covered:

Credits Cards: How We Buy Everything

Mr. Frugalwoods and I purchase everything we possibly can with credit cards because:

  1. It’s easier to track expenses. No guesswork over where a random $20 bill went; it all shows up in our monthly expense report from Personal Capital. I spend less money because I KNOW I’m going to see every expense listed at the end of each month. Here’s a more detailed explanation of how I use Personal Capital for my expense tracking (and other stuff too).
  2. We get rewards. Credit card rewards are a simple way to get something for nothing. Through the cards we use, Mr. FW and I get cash back as well as hotel and airline points just for buying stuff we were going to buy anyway.
  3. We build our credit. Since Mr. FW and I don’t carry debt other than our mortgages, having several credit cards open for many years helps our credit scores. By the way, it’s a dirty myth that carrying a balance on your credit card helps your credit score–IT DOES NOT. Paying your cards off IN FULL every month and keeping them open for many years does help your score.

Sign of spring: the crocuses I salvaged from Kidwoods’ flower “harvest”

For more on my credit card strategy, check out The Frugalwoods Guide to a Simple, Yet Rewarding, Credit Card Experience. I also wrote this guide on how to find the best credit card for you.

If you want a simple cash back credit card, here are two good options that don’t have annual fees:

1. The TD Cash Visa® Credit Card:

  • This card gives you 3% cash back on dining, 2% cash back at grocery stores, and 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
  • Plus, if you spend $500 within 90 days of opening an account, you’ll get $150 back.
  • And, there’s no annual fee!

2. The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi:

  • If you already have a Costco membership, this card is a pretty good deal.
  • You get 4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter.
  • You also get 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases and 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com.
  • And finally, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • This is a lot of categories to keep track of, but, those are some really high cash back percentages, so might be worth it if you’re a Costco member (side note: this makes me miss our Costco!!!!).
  • There’s no annual fee if you’re a Costco member.

If you’re more interested in travel rewards, a lot of people love the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

The best way to find a credit card that’ll work for you is to search for it yourself; I have a guide to help you do just that: The Best Credit Cards (and Credit Card Rewards)!

Huge caveat to credit card usage: you MUST pay your credit card bills in full every single month, with no exceptions. If you’re concerned about your ability to do this, or think that using credit cards might prompt you to spend more money, then credit cards are not for you–stick with a debit card or cash. But if you have no problem paying that bill in full every month? I recommend you credit card away, my friend! (note: the credit card links are affiliate links).

Cash Back Earned This Month: $21.84

The silver lining to our spending is our cash back credit card. We earn 2% cash back on every purchase made with our Fidelity Rewards Visa and this month, we spent $1,091.80 on that card, which netted us $21.84.

Not a lot of money, perhaps, but it’s money we earned for buying stuff we were going to buy anyway! This is why I love cash back credit card rewards–they’re the simplest way to earn something for nothing.

Personal Capital: How We Organize Our Expen$e$

I hope you’re tracking YOUR expenses, Littlewoods

Mr. Frugalwoods and I use a free, online service called Personal Capital to keep track of our money.

Tracking expenses is one of the best–and easiest–ways to get a handle on your finances. You absolutely, positively cannot make informed decisions about your money if you don’t know how you’re spending it. If you’d like to know more about how Personal Capital works, check out my full review.

Without a holistic picture of how much you spend every month, there’s no way to set savings, debt repayment, or investment goals. It’s a must, folks. No excuses. Personal Capital (which is free to use) is a great way for us to systematize our financial overviews since it links all of our accounts together and provides a comprehensive picture of our net worth.

If you’re not tracking your expenses in an organized fashion, you might consider trying Personal CapitalHere’s a more detailed explanation of how I use Personal Capital (note: these Personal Capital links are affiliate links). 

Yes, We Only Paid $31.54 for Cell Phone Service (for two phones)

Our cell phone service line item is not a typ0 (although that certainly is). We really and truly only paid $31.54 for both of our phones (that’s $15.77 per person for those of you into division). How is such trickery possible?!? We use the MVNO Ting (affiliate link). What’s an MVNO? Glad you asked because I was going to tell you anyway. It’s a cell phone service re-seller.

MVNOs are basically the TJ Maxx of the cell phone service world–it’s the same service, just A LOT cheaper. If you’re not already using an MVNO, switching to one is an easy, slam-dunk, do-it-right-now way to save money every single month of every single year forever and ever amen. More here: My Frugal Cell Phone Service Trick: How I Pay $10.65 A Month*

*the amount we pay fluctuates every month because it’s calibrated on what we use. Imagine that! We only pay for what we use! Will wonders ever cease.

Where’s Your Money?

Moments before they both fell into the creek, thus ending a perfectly idyllic five minute period in the woods

One of the easiest ways to optimize your money is to use a high-interest savings account. A high-interest savings account gives you money for nothing. With these accounts, interest works in YOUR favor (as opposed to the interest rates on debt, which work against you). Having money in a no (or low) interest savings account is a waste of resources–your money is just sitting there doing nothing. Don’t let your money be lazy! Make it work for you! And now, enjoy some explanatory math:

Let’s say you have $5,000 in a savings account that earns 0% interest. In a year’s time, your $5,000 will still be… $5,000.

Let’s say you instead put that $5,000 into an American Express Personal Savings account that–as of this writing–earns 1.70% in interest. In one year, your $5,000 will have increased to $5,085.67. That means you earned $85.67 just by having your money in a high-interest account.

And you didn’t have to do anything! I’m a big fan of earning money while doing nothing. I mean, is anybody not a fan of that? Apparently so, because anyone who uses a low (or no) interest savings account is NOT making money while doing nothing. Don’t be that person.

Be the person who earns money while sleeping. More about high-interest savings accounts, as well as the ones I recommend, here: The Best High Interest Rate Online Savings Accounts.

Expense Report FAQs

  • Want to know how we manage the rest of our money? Check out How We Manage Our Money: Behind The Scenes of The Frugalwoods Family Accounts. We also own a rental property in Cambridge, MA, which I discuss here.
  • Why do I share our expenses? To give you a sense of how we spend our money in a values-based manner. Your spending will differ from ours and there’s no “one right way” to spend and no “perfect” budget.
  • Are we the most frugal frugal people on earth? Absolutely not. My hope is that by being transparent about our spending, you might gain insights into your own spending and be inspired to take proactive control of your money.
  • Wondering where to start with managing your money? Take my free, 31-day Uber Frugal Month Challenge. If you’re interested in other things I love, check out Frugalwoods Recommends.

But Mrs. Frugalwoods, Don’t You Pay For X, Y, Or Even Z????

Wondering about common expenses you don’t see listed below?

If you’re wondering about anything else, feel free to ask in the comments section!

Alright you frugal money voyeurs, feast your eyes on every dollar we spent in April:

Item Amount Notes
Mortgage $1,392.86
Raised Bed Supplies $419.71 We (and by “we” I obviously mean Mr. FW… ) are building four new raised garden beds! Details in the next This Month On The Homestead post.
Two of these car seats $292.54 The car seats (affiliate link). So far? I really like them. All two times I’ve used them…
Masks $136.22 So many masks for so many faces. We didn’t buy masks when we should have (months ago) and so had to pay a premium. Yes, I tried to make homemade masks. No, it did not work. Yes, it would probably help if I knew how to sew…
Groceries $118.24 Super duper low because we didn’t go to the grocery store in April. This was the total for several curbside pick-ups from a produce stand and other local farm stands.
Beer $112.84 A total necessity. Purchased from a gas station, which is ideal because it’s a smaller space than the grocery store and so Mr. FW was able to be the only person inside (along with the one cashier).
Pair of work boots for Mr. FW $105.00 Mr. FW’s work boots gave up the ghost, by which I mean the soles fell off and holes formed. So far, he really likes these Keen boots (affiliate link).
Kreg Jig (to replace cheaper broken one) $104.94 A new Kreg Jig to replace our broken Kreg Jig (we bought a cheap one the first time around and, surprise, surprise, it broke).
100 Strawberry Plants $74.45 We’re planting strawberries for the first time this year! These 100 plants will go in two of our new, built-by-Mr.FW raised beds.
Internet $72.00 Love our Fiber internet
TWO power wheels $70.00 Two preowned power wheels for our girls (and Mr. FW, if we’re being honest here).
Gasoline for cars $68.50 Lower on account of limited driving.
Stamps $56.80 For the mailing of things in the mail.
Seat cover for truck $38.15 We bought this seat cover for the truck to prevent future apocalyptic clean-outs of the vehicles (affiliate link).
2 lbs of CO2 for seltzer $34.25 This 20lb tank of food-grade CO2 will last us at least six months. Explanation of what this is here.
2 sets of kick mats for cars $33.86 These kick mats are now installed in both cars (affiliate link). Kick all you want, children! Your dirt will be contained.
Cell phone service for two phones $31.54 This is so cheap because we use an MVNO called Ting (affiliate link).

MVNOs resell wireless service at discounted rates (but it’s the same service).

MVNOs are basically the TJ Maxx of cell phone service.If you’re not using an MVNOcheck out this post to see if you can make the switch. The savings are tremendous.

Flour $29.85 A curbside pick-up of flour from our local flour purveyor, King Arthur.
Row cover for plants $29.67 We bought this row cover to cover our vegetable plants (affiliate link).
Training Wheels $28.61 We’ve reached the era of training wheels for Kidwoods! She has a little bike that I found in a free pile by the side of the road last summer, but needed training wheels. Enter these wheels to the rescue.
Battery for power wheels $27.55 The power wheels needed a new battery. This battery is working out great and was a lot cheaper than the batteries specifically made for power wheels (affiliate link).
Kneepads to aid in raised bed project and others $26.36 Kneepads to wear while gardening/building stuff in the wood shop/trying to look cool while wearing overalls (affiliate link). You know, the usual.
Eggs! $24.00 We buy two dozen eggs/week from our neighbor, courtesy of their chickens.
Utilities: Electricity $19.64 We have solar (which I detail here); this is our monthly base price for remaining grid tied.
Banneton and shaper for sourdough $16.95 True to quarantine cliche, Mr. FW is baking sourdough. And it is delicious. He required these two things and I have no idea what they are but I love him and also love sourdough (affiliate link).
12 refill roles of tape $14.81 Tape (affiliate link). Aren’t you THRILLED to see that I bought tape? WOW. Much amaze. So tape.
Coloring books $10.59 School is out, we need to color! The kids are loving this Coloring Book and also this Coloring book (affiliate links).
Pharmacy $10.00 Finally figured out how to transfer our prescriptions to an online pharmacy and have them delivered to us. To maintain my dignity, I will not tell you how many hours this took me to accomplish.
Speed Square $9.51 For when your squares just NEED more speed (affiliate link).
Spatula $5.50 Yep, a spatula (affiliate link).
Blistex $4.66 Oh yeah, some lip balm. Wow (affiliate link).
Total: $3,419.60
Minus Mortgage: $2,026.74

How was your April?

User Generated Content Disclosure: reader comments and responses are not provided or commissioned by Frugalwoods or its advertisers. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by advertisers. It is not the advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: Frugalwoods partners with CardRatings for coverage of credit card products. Frugalwoods and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers at no extra cost to you.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses and recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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53 Responses

  1. Experienced parent tip: You may want to switch to blue painter’s tape. It is a LOT easier to remove from pretty much everything.

  2. Betty says:

    Agree on the painter’s tape! Love the look in Littlewoods’ face in the power wheels picture.

    For anyone else looking at purchasing a car seat at this same age/stage: if you’re using them just for forward facing (like shown in the picture in the post), then I’d recommend a harness booster seat – a forward facing only seat that converts to a belt positioning booster. Most of these seats are less expensive and you can keep using the same seat after they outgrow the harness stage instead of having to purchase a high back booster.

  3. Gemma says:

    A lot of this had me laughing out loud!
    ‘Yes, for some reason we only have one spatula in our home, I close drawers with feet, and we own four different whisks. Why is this? We do not know.’ 😀

  4. Jessica says:

    Great car seat choice. We own 4 of them. My 3-year old is still rear facing and we haven’t even had to use the extended tray feature for her yet. With her weight, we may be able to keep her rear facing until she hits school!

  5. Marina says:

    We have Graco car seats for both kids as well – so far so good! I particularly love the cup holders because our 1/4 other carseat doesn’t have cupholders and it’s annoying to have to hand drinks back there (in the before times).

    Also, have you given any thought to having a part time sitter for the summer? Two kids at home all summer with no daycare or camps is A LOT. Your mental health is important too. Just thought I would throw that out there.

  6. Jen says:

    I’m 42 and those Power Wheels look like a great time!!!!!!

  7. Bella says:

    From a non Americans, how can a car seat expire. This sound mind blowing to me. We are more of a kids in the back of the pickup island.

  8. Amy says:

    Omg YES YES YES to the tape. What IS IT with kids and tape? I buy my kids Scotch tape for their stockings and for the birthdays (like 4-packs) and and give them rolls of painters tape whenever they want it, because if I don’t feed their habit, they steal all my tape for their nefarious taping projects. I keep my own Scotch tape hidden above the kitchen sink, but they know it’s their and if their own supply gets low, they raid mine 😀

  9. Yeah, no judgment here for owning two sets of car seats! Installing car seats is THE WORST (and we even have a minivan, so shouldn’t that make the process easy?!). and has been the cause on multiple occasions of my husband almost losing his mind with frustration. The man loathes math and yet still powered through three years’ of physics and calculus classes like a champ, but car seats? That’s what really made his brain melt. So enjoy with zero guilt your two beautiful new car seats, and then have fun explaining to your kids why they’re going to ride in them until they’re 8. (For safety, obviously, not just because you don’t want to deal with taking them out again…)

    Good luck on the strawberries, and I’m excited to see the raised beds projects! I LOVE our raised beds–we actually put up a cattle panel between them to form a makeshift trellis for our bean/pea/cucumber plants, and I get all the heart eyes every time I look at them 🙂

  10. pauline says:

    Those powerwheels are COOL!! And what a bargain! Good job parents!

  11. Maggie says:

    My two young teens spent two days researching and making a kite out of heavy duty trash bags, scrap wood and a whole roll of tape, my husband says ” that was an $8 roll of tape ?!?!”
    I gave him The Look and said ” small price to pay for two days of something to do , man !!”
    Also applies to the messy basement workshop…….we have plenty of time to clean and organize.. a whole summer !!

  12. Carey Hepler says:

    One Christmas, my mom bought six-packs of scotch tape for each of my three girls. They loved it!

  13. Marieke says:

    I just came here to say I’m thrilled to read there is an expression in English that goes: ‘giving up the ghost’. We have the exact same expression in Dutch (de geest geven). I have always liked languages, but perhaps I got a little extra excited because life is so boring right now. Anyway, thanks for writing!

  14. Rachel says:

    Dear Kidwoods,
    Here’s a fun Scotch tape idea from my own children. If you draw, with markers or pens, onto Scotch tape you can then stick your masterpieces on your parents and call them tattoos. Better yet, you can open your own tattoo parlor and charge your parents for this body art/tape experience. Lots of fun! So much tape!

  15. Julie says:

    I love the power wheels! My mom ordered my daughter one for her first birthday. I am slowly warming to the idea as I wait for its arrival.

    We have the same car seat. If LittleWoods was still able to fit into her infant seat, you can turn it around for rear facing since that is safer. Thanks for the reminder about giving away the bucket seat. I don’t want it to sit in the basement if someone else could use it.

    I’ve been collecting outdoor things all winter for our soon to be one year old. I’m glad I did. A month ago there was a small slide on the side of the road. It would not fit in my car, so my dear husband carried it half a mile in the rain. We set out the (free!!) water table a few weeks ago, and she loves it.

  16. Machelle says:

    Before you put on the training wheels – consider taking off the pedals (and likely lowering the seat) to have the bike as a balance bike for a while first – you may be able to forgo the training wheels entirely! Hindsight I wish we had did that first!!!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Yep, we actually already have a balance bike (a hand-me-down), but Kidwoods is dying to learn “the pedals!”

      • Dawn Harris says:

        If she can balance enough to glide on the balance bike then she won’t need training wheels. Pedaling is easy – it’s the balance that is difficult to attain. Once they get that, off they go – no training wheels needed.

        • Karina says:

          I third this! Our first Vermont boy went straight to pedaling after his balance bike at 3.5 and number two is zooming around on his BB and we’re aiming for moving up to the pedal bike this summer (he’ll be 3 in June). Another trick is to take the pedals off and let them rip around for a few days to get the balance on that exact bike then throw the pedals back on and she’ll be off!

          • Tracy says:

            yes yes yes! We were so glad that we started with a balance bike and went straight to riding without ever using training wheels. It is so much easier in the long run than training them to use the extra wheels and then unlearning that behavior. We were the envy of our whole set of friends for how quickly and easily our kid learned to ride a real bike because we never used the training wheels…please do give it a whirl!

  17. Karianne says:

    This is the second time that carseat has randomly been recommended to me via a resource I sought out (not marketed to me) in the last 3 days since I’ve been shopping around for them…might be a sign…

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Hahah, so far, I like them. Easy to install (according to Mr. FW) and they’re not too large, which is key since our Prius is also not very large.

      • Katherine says:

        I have two of these car seats, and I love them! I was surprised to see that you don’t have them installed rear-facing – one of the main benefits of the Graco Extend2Fit is that it has a 50-pound rear-facing weight limit, so the kids can probably sit rear-facing until kindergarten. I agree they’re super easy to install, which is awesome for travel when you need to put a car seat in a taxi or rental car!

        We skipped the infant buckets altogether and brought both of our kids home from the hospital in these seats, so we won’t have to buy another car seat until our oldest is ready to switch to a booster.

  18. Tom Marshall says:

    Liz:
    Question for you. Is your wood stove ample enough to heat your home exclusively during the winter? I know you have mentioned that you supplement your wood stove heat with oil heat which from a safety standpoint makes sense, but just wondered whether you could if needed keep your house warm enough and prevent your pipes from freezing up using wood exclusively.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      So, our wood stove is ample enough to heat our entire home and, 95% of the time, our home is exclusively warmed by the wood stove. We do keep our oil tanks full, mostly as a fail safe back-up. We find that the oil comes on in the middle of the night on the very coldest sub-zero nights. Our first winter here, we were getting up in the middle of the night with our tiny baby and so Mr. FW would load the stove in the middle of the night, which meant the oil heat didn’t kick on. However, now that our kids sleep through the night, neither of us wants to set an alarm to load the stove! Still, the oil only kicks on during the very coldest nights of the year. Most of the time, the stove coasts us through until morning (we do a big fire right before bed–circa 9pm or so) and then stoke the coals in the morning (circa 7am or so). I’d say the main reason we have the oil heat is in case of emergency or travel. When we travel, we rely on the oil heat to keep the pipes from freezing. And in the event of an emergency, we’d need to rely on the oil heat since we wouldn’t be home to build fires. Sorry for this long-winded response–let me know if you have any other questions :)!

      • Tom Marshall says:

        Thanks Liz. At 95% efficiency, your wood stove is saving you a lot of money. Given your 66 acre wood supply and Mr FW’s system for getting wood chopped ad stored, you’ve got this figured out. That wood stove was really a good buy plus you get rid of dead and rotten trees to boot! I have a gas fireplace in my townhouse and it is only for “show” and not for “go” if you know what I mean….LOL!

  19. Katharine says:

    I am so relieved that I am not the only one that fills up kids’ stockings with tape (and bandaids! The expensive fancy ones!). We also encourage the use of painter’s tape for the walls and floors and ceilings after learning the hard way. But seriously, who would’ve thunk that in a pandemic, one of the first things we would run out of would be masking tape, painter’s tape, duct tape, and scotch tape? And yet, I, too, have found myself adding all of these to my online orders. Granted… there *was* an air strip on the bedroom floor created completely out of painter’s tape that was landing all sorts of lego airships, so there was great need…..

  20. Madelyn says:

    I got a Barbie Jeep for Christmas when I was 5. Hands down the best gift EVER. I often look back fondly on my memories of driving around my neighborhood in it. I drove it until I could not fit in it anymore. Fantastic gift =D and awesome you got it so cheap!!!
    By the way, do you have any blog posts talking about patience with enjoying the fire journey? We’ve got 8 years left and sometimes it feels like forever.

  21. Lynn Thomas says:

    note on strawberry plants, they not only produce divine fruit but loads of runners. If you peg the runners down you will get little plantlets and next year you might be able to double or even treble your strawberry patch. I started with just 6 plants and now, after 4 years, have over 200

  22. Chris says:

    I wear the Keen Targhee II boots every day and I love the way they feel. However, for me, at least, they do not last. I generally burn through 3-4 pairs per year. That said, I do put a lot of miles on them (5-10mi per day).

  23. Katie Camel says:

    LOVE the picture of the girls in the Jeep! It brought back memories of my niece cruising around (and crashing!!!) in hers when she was little. Your accounts of the girls’ activities and interests spark memories from my own childhood and reminds me of the simplicity they all experience. The strangest things, like tape, provide endless entertainment. I wish we all retained that magic from childhood, so it’s nice to relive it vicariously through this blog.

    Like all my parent friends, I’m sure you’re struggling to make it through each day with two little ones to constantly care for. But I hope you’re finding joy between the moments you want to pull your hair out. It won’t last forever, right? Glad you’re all staying safe and enjoying some sourdough bread.

  24. Sarah says:

    Love how your beer spending rivals your grocery spending! Beer feeds the soul…

  25. Allison in Ky. says:

    LOVE the girls’ new wheels! Their expressions say it all. They will have countless hours of fun tearing around your property this summer. Money well spent. Good job, mom and dad!

  26. Tara says:

    a lot of times, the batteries suck in those power wheels even brand new. my in-laws bought a power wheel new and the battery barely made it 6 months. he found a replacement (it used a battery similar to what is used APC battery-back up surge protectors) and it was faster and charged better than when brand new.

    also I am with you on car seats. We only have one child, but have our two cars plus MiMi’s, and I got car seats for all (got lucky and got a used Diono for my car that has a tiered expiration based on forward facing/rear facing and he’s over 4 now so it’s still not expired). When you have compact cars, the clips for the car seats are BURIED into the seat and it is extremely difficult to remove car seats. Now that I upgraded to a 7 passenger SUV (from a Hyundai Accent), I actually can remove the car seat so much easily than before. In my husband’s Ford Fiesta, it’s even harder to remove the car seat because it has leather/vinyl seats and trying to keep the gap between the back seat back and bottom open to clip the car seat is just stress-inducing!

  27. Danny Jellis says:

    Does PERSONAL CAPITAL hate foreigners? I am in Canada and like to see what software is available, but every time you mention, I click and NOTHING happens. Why?

  28. REBECCA says:

    How many dozen eggs did you buy and whats the price per dozen?

  29. Kara says:

    You are making great decisions to keep yourself and your family healthy and happy! It’s all such a balance.
    I wouldn’t want to switch car seats between cars either!
    I’m enjoying my new challenge, which necessitates a bit of spending-my new etsy shop!! https://www.etsy.com/shop/fabricspeaks/
    It is fun and challenging and rewarding and frustrating-just like the rest of life!

  30. Shannon says:

    Kids learn quicker if you get a balance bike.

  31. LongTime Frugal says:

    Tape makes a great stocking stuffer. As so odds-n-ends of fabric et al for crafts.
    As to kicking the back of the front seats – Kidwoods will soon be old enough to be warned once or twice re: kicking. The violation of the policy results in Kidwoods cleaning the back of the seat. And your job as a parent is to make the cleaning chore as unpleasant as possible for Kidwoods (you or Mr. Frugalwoods just have to suck it up). The parent in charge must repeat “this is why you don’t kick the back of the seat”. And you cannot be satisfied until the back of the seat has been cleaned at least 4 times.
    Your kids won’t be old enough for a while to banish the words “I’m bored” from their vocabulary. But come that day, the one chore you and the kids do for a good number of hours will be worth it. You’ll hear “I’m bored” once after that, to which you respond by saying “do you want to again?” But no more after that.

  32. JD says:

    We bought a used go-cart for a kid who was about 10 or 11 at the time, and she loved it. Funnily enough, the dog would ride with her, and the faster she went, the more the dog loved it. The picture of the girls in the Powerwheels reminded me so much of her when riding on her go-cart in our yard.

    Do you ever consider getting another dog? In the country around here, many people consider a large dog a necessity, for chasing deer from the garden and warding off predators, especially if you start raising poultry or other fowl. We have always lived in the country and have always kept a dog, so I was just wondering.

  33. Melissa says:

    You can find lots of free coloring pages online and print them yourself. I buy cheap replacement ink and paper by the ream so the cost is not much at all. The best part is you can ask the kids what kind of picture they want and then find one and print it. Also great for holidays or educational activities. I love my printer!

  34. Mary says:

    Maybe you already know this and you’re choosing forward facing for a reason/ picture. Rear facing for toddlers/kids for as long as possible is the safest thing for them. The Graco one’s you bought have a super small front to back footprint so you should be able to rear face at least Littlewood. Kidwood might be too tall/big to rear face though! Just in case you didn’t already know!

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