Thursday, May 18, 2006

A Bike, a Blanket and Other Tales of Frugal Kids

I've been talking so much about food lately that I haven't shared some of the other frugal things I've been up to. Here are a few updates about frugal things going on with my kids. For any new readers, my kids are 5, 7, 13 and 14.

Update #1
My youngest son grew like a weed over the winter. When he tried to ride his bike this spring, it looked like a circus act. When he tried to pedal, his knees were higher than the handle bars. Clearly, it was time for a new bike.

My intention had been to hit the local thrift stores. This time of year bikes are plentiful. I hadn't yet gotten around to it when a 16 inch boy's bike turned up on my local ecycle list. All it needed was some air in the tires and the training wheels reattached. Fifteen minutes after I got it home, my son was zooming around the driveway with glee.

The moral of the story is, if your child needs a larger bike he can be happy with a bike that's new to him rather than brand new.

Update #2
Both of my son's need some sort of spring weight blanket for their beds because the quilts they use in the winter are just too warm, as are the blankets that I crocheted for them. I've been using two huge beach blankets while I try to figure out a solution.

I thought about buying cotton blankets but I was looking for a more creative solution. Besides, those cotton blankets never seem to hold their shape. Then I remembered a pile of worn out jeans that I had saved from the garbage. I had originally thought to use them in a braided jeans rug but I already have plenty of material for that.

Instead, I've begun to cut the jeans into rectangles which I'll use to make a summer weight quilt. Basically, it will be patchwork denim on one side and a solid bedsheet on the other. To avoid making it too heavy, I won't put any batting in between the layers. I already have extra bedsheets and enough embroidery floss to knot a quilt a day for the next 25 years.

My 13 year old daughter just stumbled upon me cutting the jeans up yesterday and asked what I was doing. When I told her, she asked if I would make her one too.

The moral of the story is, even teenage girls who are very concerned about their position in society like things that are handmade.

Update #3
Over the last few days all the kids have helped us working in the yard. For the most part, the girls have been weeding with me and the boys have been carting the weeds off to the compost bin. Was it a thrill or an especially good time? Not really but it all needs to be done.

The girls were given the opportunity to take on two of the more hideous areas themselves to earn a little extra money. They both welcomed the chance. Tasha has already completed her first section and is planning to do another section to make a little more cash.

The moral of the story is, if everyone does a little bit the really yucky jobs are finished more quickly. This moral is also known as the "mom and dad are not the maid and janitor clause." It also has the benefit of teaching the kids, in a very real way, that you have to work to earn your money.

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