We live our own way here in Eastern North Carolina. Join us in our discussions of frugality, self sufficiency, gardening, and homeschooling.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Cheaper By the Dozen

I know that it sounds like I’m going to talk about eggs in this post, but I’m really not. A friend of mine recommended that I read Cheaper By the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey about a year and a half ago. She suggested that I read it because my stories of MrLivingOurWay quizzing our kids on math facts at age 3 reminded her of the book. We got so much more out the book though and I thought I would share. MrLivingOurWay started reading the book after he heard me laughing so much while reading it and we were both excited to read the sequel Belles on Their Toes.

Frank and Lillian Gilbreth were efficiency experts who had a total of twelve children. This was very intriguing because I’m always trying to find ways to make things more efficient. Often times, I’m trying so hard to make things more efficient that they become inefficient because I’m always looking into new ways. In both books, there are some interesting ways to save time. Some are ridiculous but some really make you think such as how your kitchen is arranged. MrLivingOurWay has tried to enforce their methods of discipline many times but with only two children it just doesn’t quite work the same way.

Belles on Their Toes begins to be more relevant to this blog as Lillian suddenly finds herself as work at home mom and the children begin to be very thrifty in order to stay together as a family. The children start a garden and pick up horse manure to make compost. They make their own soft drinks in the basement, save money on the family food budget, and show their negotiating skills.

I highly recommend these books if you have time to sit and read them. They are definitely worth the trip to your local library. Both books are currently in print.  This is actually a book written at an elementary school reading level, so read it as a family.

Have you read these books? What do you think of them? Do you recommend any other books that fit with our life style?


  1. I just read Cheaper By the Dozen maybe two months ago. I enjoyed it, it was very interesting--the father of the family was quite a character! I have yet to read Belles On Their Toes, although I have seen the movie so I guess I know the gist of it. :)

  2. There are a few differences between the movie and the book. We had to watch the movies after reading the books LOL. It's ddefinitey worth the read though.

  3. You might also like Gene Stranton Porter,Laddie. This book is a story much like the way she grew up. She was the 12th child,and they raised there children frugally. They encouraged higher learning, and at night they lined there children up along the family room and gave out spelling words. Warning though,there is one place that will scare you. The children wanted to know what it felt like to hang. She was all right,but it sends chills. The story is really great though. I had started cheaper by the dozen but haven't finished it yet.