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Uh oh. Your kid watched a scary movie- now what?

What to do if your kid watches a scary movie Frugalista Blog

I remember it a few summers ago. Owen was probably 9, maybe 10. He had been having lots of sleepovers at his friend’s house in the neighborhood. Staying up late playing video games, playing baseball in the cul de sac past dark; it was just easy to let him crash there. What I found out later is that sometimes they would watch a scary movie, something involving the paranormal. The other kids didn’t see the big deal. But Owen has never liked scary. Doesn’t like it when someone sneaks up on him, doesn’t want anything with ghosts or just that creepy factor. He watches all kinds of action and adventure films that don’t scare him. He says when they have fictional fantasy aspects, he can differentiate that it’s just a movie, it’s not real.

But in some paranormal films, the plot and storytelling are just TOO real. And you can really wonder what that sound was you heard downstairs, or are the lights playing tricks on you.

So. What do we do when our kid watches a movie that scares them and now they want to sleep with the lights on?

I have partnered with Grace Hill Media and Warner Bros. to bring you some tips on what to tell your kids and help them through this. Also, I have a GIVEAWAY for the grown ups that LOVE to see scary, intense movies with real plot lines and great story telling. The Conjuring 2 is opening Friday, June 10th and I’m looking forward to this sequel.

• The first thing you need to do is sit down with your child and give them the chance to discuss the film openly. Ask them what they saw, what they thought about it, and how it made them feel. Whatever you do, don’t make light of their fears or dismiss their feelings as silly or immature.

• Once their emotions have been aired, assure your son or daughter that this was only a story, just like the imaginary tales they may have seen in books or other action movies and cartoons. Bad things weren’t happening to real people – they were actors playing a pretend game, like they and their friends do.

• Reassure your child that you, as their parent, are dedicated to protecting them. Let them know that it is one of your most important jobs – ensuring they feel safe and are safe. Reinforce that message with plenty of hugs.

• If you are a Christian family, you can explain that God has promised to be with them at all times, even in the midst of danger. Read some Bible verses together that show comfort and protection. Pray with them about the scary movie and their fears, and encourage them to pray on their own when they become frightened at night. If it seems appropriate, you can also practice some coping techniques with them, like deep breathing relaxation exercises or visualizing a happy place.

What we did for Owen was talk to him about his fears during day time. Waiting until it was right before bed seemed to remind him of the images he saw in the film. I explained that there’s special effects and people on the set that are either waiting behind walls or in a control booth that create the images and situations for us on screen. We see the finished product set to music and it just plays with our emotions. Those people in the movie got up and laughed after the director yelled “CUT” and went to go have lunch. Also, we let him sleep with as many lights on, night lights on and stuffed animal fortresses that he wanted. I also used lavender oils and some aromatherapy and breathing techniques like mentioned above.

He is 13 now and will still not go to a scary movie. I’m fine with that. His friends also respect that he doesn’t want to watch them. I know kids even younger than his age love the scary stuff, and that’s okay. The horror and super natural movie genre is one that some grasp onto early and for some others, never enjoy.

My daughter and I love a good scary film. She and I will definitely be going to see The Conjuring 2! And we’re going to wear our T shirts from the film. Which you can too if you win my Conjuring 2 prize pack.****

In it is:

2 movie passes to see the film

1 Conjuring 2 T-shirt

1 Leather bound and embossed Conjuring 2 journal

2 Creepy tumbler cups with a movie image screened on it

1 Keepsake Conjuring 2 candle

Conjuring 2 prize pack frugalista blog

 

All you have to do is comment**** below if you like scary movies or not. And if you do- tell me which is your favorite because I might not have seen it and need to check it out!

Grab your Rosary beads and light your candles and check out the Conjuring 2 this weekend in theaters!

****giveaway now closed, thank you for your responses!

frugalista blog The Conjuring 2

 

 

 

 

Dear son- don’t rape anyone

frugalista blog dear son don't rape

Because I have to say it. I have to make sure I’ve done my part. I know the Boy to be sensitive, sympathetic and trusting. But what if that’s what other moms have said too? Other moms of rapists who date raped a girl at a frat party? Or who just saw a drunk girl passed out at a friend’s house and didn’t see the harm? What if those moms thought it was obvious and they never said anything?

So we need to say it. We need to tell boys that you can not, absolutely, CAN NOT have any kind of sex with a girl if she’s not given consent. Period. Done.

It’s weird that we even have to define the gray area. Oh, but what if you’re drunk too? What if she’s not passed out but sort of inebriated? She’s just tipsy, is that okay? No. It’s not okay. There is no gray area. It’s black and white. [Read more…]

Holding down the fort

holding down the fort by frugalista blog

 

McSweetie and I went away for a weekend without the kids. It was nice. I mean, except for the 5 hours of bickering in the car or how he doesn’t wear his seatbelt for the first 30 seconds of driving, WHY? and then his tendency to take 10 minutes to figure out which beer on tap he wants when we order at a restaurant worse than Sally in When Harry Met Sally. BUT OTHER THAN THAT, we had a great weekend. For real.

The kids are 15 and 12. Still too young in my opinion to leave alone over night. Right? I was wondering this and wasn’t sure what the rule was. My kids are mature and have been left alone quite a bit during the day or whenever we go out. But overnight? That seems weird, right?

We had my sister in law and niece stay with them for the first night. They were in town visiting, so I designated them as their babysitters. It worked out great! Thanks Katherine! They got to do fun stuff during the day and then she was the designated adult to stay in the house.

So what if Emma forgot how to turn on the dishwasher and had to text me for directions. That’s a minor detail. Okay. Let’s be real. My kids are really bad at housework. They need constant prodding to do laundry or pick up after themselves. They never clean the cat box, although Emma is really good at looking after her hamster. For 15 and 12, they are behind when it comes to household tasks and knowing how to do them. Is this because I’m a control freak and only like the way I do it? Shhh. We can talk about that another day.

What I’m trying to say here is, I had really low expectations while we were away.

The second night we were away, they slept at my parent’s house. My folks brought them back home before we returned. This was good so that they could let the dog out to pee, and settle in and it saved us a trip to get them.

It was so nice to come home. The kids were greeting us enthusiastically, and even the dog was happy. She was dancing on her back two feet. We hugged and danced in a circle for a bit. And that wasn’t even the best part.

As we settled in, Emma told me that when they got back to the house, Owen emptied the dishwasher and put away the dishes, and she had noticed the dog had a messy backside after going out to poop. Wiping the dog’s butt with paper towels was only making it worse. So she needed to bathe her. She put her in the kitchen sink, which the dog hates, and had to keep her from jumping out. She hollered orders at Owen to grab a big towel (he came back with the largest beach towel ever) and hand her the soap. She said they were a tag team like in surgery. She said it was fun. I was thrilled to hear they didn’t leave the messy dog around with shit smears for me to clean up!

I was impressed! Emptying the dishwasher, and a washed dog? I’m the luckiest girl ever!

Emma shared that once Owen was done in the kitchen, and had finished his dish duty, and the dog was drying, he sat down on the couch and let out a long breath. It must have been from all the messy dog excitement.

He announces: “Being a mom IS the hardest job. I only did one mom thing emptying the dishwasher, and I’m already tired!”

No kidding buddy.

It’s stuff like that that when you hear it, it just makes this whole mothering thing worth it.

Did Emma smack Owen in the arm at dinner when he got in her way over the milk? Yeah. Oh well. Kids are still kids. They are not perfect. But it’s good to know that left to their own, I can count on some things getting done!

We just need to work on the laundry stuff next.

 

My kids are growing up and it’s freaking me out!

I’m sitting here in my room, typing on my lap top. My bedroom window is cracked open to let in the fresh air of this June rain we’re having. It’s nice. Refreshing.

But also, about a half mile away is the high school. And it’s the last day of school, class just let out and I can hear the cars honking, the tires squealing, and the shouts of ‘no more teacher’s dirty looks’. Well, not that last part. But amongst all that hoopla is Emma. Her last day as a freshman. She’s off to spend the day with friends and I texted her to be careful and watch out for the crazy drivers because kids are stupid. And kids are stupid when they are goofing off especially.

So I just get to sit here and fret over my kids being out in the big wide world. Which isn’t even the real BIG WIDE WORLD yet like the kids who have graduated this year and what their parents must be feeling! This is what keeps big pharma in business- the Xanax that parents like me will be popping like PEZ squares to keep from literally pulling out my eyebrows one hair at a time.

Owen is thrilled to have his first year of middle school under his belt and tucked away for good. Not because he enjoyed it, but that means he’s down to 2 more years in that place and he can’t wait to get out. Face it. Middle school sucks. He’s doing well, and it’s not horrible, but it’s still- well, middle school.

Middle school is only fun in your 40s when you’re at a themed dance for other moms and bloggers. But the real middle school is just shit. What is with the administration being so freaking uptight? I guess when you’re dealing with 1,200 11-14 year olds, it makes you kind of a tight ass.  You breathe wrong and the Vice Principal hands out a detention.

But high school has been the opposite. Emma has flourished as a freshman and has enjoyed more autonomy, responsibility and new friends than ever before in a school. She’s been lucky that her teachers ‘get’ her. During her health class when they were in the Sex Ed unit talking about STD’s, there were wooden penises on each desk to be used for a demonstration on proper condom application. Emma picks up her wooden penis and shouts to the teacher, ‘Hey! Look at my woody!”

Thankfully, the teacher burst into laughter and said that in all her years, she’s surprised that Emma was the first one to make that joke. Emma was just all, ‘How can you NOT make that joke?”

Also- just the idea of kids her age becoming sexually active- I mean. No. Just no. But I’d be dumb to pretend that’s not the case, so that’s why we talk about stuff all the time. Because OHMYGOSHNOTMYBABY!

She’s overcome so much in the way with her health issues; maintained a great GPA and has signed up to be the football team’s water girl/ team manager in the fall. What the hell you ask? Same here.

She knows little about football, isn’t athletic, but apparently is a hoot and a half filling the giant water jug and taking it to the field for the players. And the coaches like her and think she’s responsible. So hey, good for her.

Emma will also be taking Driver’s Ed this summer. Driver’s Ed. She’ll be maneuvering a car in traffic. Among other cars. And drivers. I mean, that’s how it works, I know. But still. OHMYGOSHDRIVERSED!!!!

SEX ED AND DRIVER’S ED!!! My baby!! I need to get a grip.

Owen is happy to be a 7th grader. He keeps counting the days to when he’s in high school. And then eventually both of them will be on their own and won’t need me for everything (thank GOD) but I will feel useless and it will force me in to some hobby or crisis that will cause me to wall paper our house in hideous floral patterns and install track lighting. Maybe even wear elastic waist pants.

I guess I have to just sit back and enjoy the bloom that emerges from the flower. It’s so freaking hard though!

Everyone knows that the best thing is for them to leave the nest, but I just don’t want them to fly too far.

I’ll stop making metaphorical comparisons to nature and my children growing up.

I was kind of hoping that as my kids got older I would like them less. You know, the teen years being so awful and all, it would just make me glad that they move out and go off to college. But it’s the opposite that’s true. They’re pretty cool though. We have fun together and I love them even more now than when they were born. Dang it!

My kids are growing up and it's freaking me out

 

When the fear of being wrong keeps us from doing what’s right

I’m not an expert on psychology or people’s motivations. I didn’t major in sociology or anthropology or any other subject at school that would make me know the inside of the human mind’s functions. But I’m a parent. And trying to teach kids from knowing right from wrong is pretty much what we live and breathe by, college degree in the subject or not!

One of those lessons happened to Owen in second grade. I remember it so well because I think it applies to most adults these days. Politicians caught in a scandal. Police officer questioned for misconduct. A spouse suspected of adultery.

When you do something wrong, the fear of the consequences makes for greater motivation than the interest of doing what’s right.

Owen is a good kid. He is one who listens, follows the rules, and really doesn’t like to get in trouble. But he’s human, so he does goof off. And occasionally he can manage to go too far. But he never got in trouble at school. Unlike the three detentions Emma got in 1st grade. I know, right? He’s my golden boy.

Okay, so he comes to me one day stressed and in tears. I ask him what’s wrong. He doesn’t want to tell me at first. His guilty conscience is heavy and he has a hard time facing me when he knows he’s done something that might disappoint me. But he also knows he needs help. So the need for help prevails and he bursts into tears and tells me the whole story.

He was stressed over some hoodlum in his class extorting him for money and toys!

This kid, Joey was getting a dollar here and a dollar there, not to mention some prized Legos out of the deal. I asked Owen what on earth he did that gives Joey so much power over him!

Owen said that one time at lunch in the cafeteria, he spit his food out to be funny. Some of it flew off and landed by Joey and he threatened to report Owen to the lunch monitor. Owen freaked out! He didn’t want to get in trouble so he said to Joey he would do anything to keep him from telling.

The first thing Joey extorted was a Lego key chain that Owen had kept on his backpack zipper. A friend gave it to him as a sympathy present after a kitten we had for a few weeks died suddenly. Then came Joey asking for a dollar for Owen to bring him the next day. Then two dollars another day.

Finally the toll of Owen giving up his money, and not to mention that he missed his key chain, put him over the edge.

He came clean with his story to me and I told him how we would handle it.

I pointed out that what was the source of his anguish was his first offense in spitting at lunch. He wanted to avoid the wrath of the lunchroom monitor and a possible detention, so he panicked and jumped to damage control.

I parted his sweet little blond hairs from his blue eyes and held his face in my hand. I told him that if he got in trouble at lunch, I would understand that we make mistakes from time to time. And that even though it wouldn’t have been much fun, his punishment would have been completed so that he could move on with this life. But instead he handed power over to Joey. And that power was his own guilty conscience.

When I said that in the morning we would have a face to face with Mrs. Peterson, his teacher, and tell her everything, he felt better. I told him that if there was a disciplinary action that still needed to be carried out over his behavior, he would accept it. And that we would tell the teacher what Joey was doing so that she can address that issue with him so he doesn’t do it to other kids too. Because a real friend doesn’t make you feel bad and take things that are yours.

The relief Owen felt was palpable. I knew that he understood that his first course of action was a rookie mistake, led on by panic and fear. And now he felt he had the strength and confidence to face the music.

We went to the teacher. Mrs. Peterson understood exactly what Owen was telling her about Joey. She said that he’s done something like that before. She told Owen to point out the key chain and tell her exactly how much money he gave Joey. She would have a conference with him and he would get his items back. As for the lunch behavior, the statute of limitations for spitting food out seemed to only have a short time span. Owen knew not to do anything like that again. But if he did slip up, to face his consequences.

Isn’t it funny how we can use a simple elementary school cafeteria extortion scenario to play out life’s moral code? How much better the world would be if people could own their wrong doing up front instead of creating more and more mess to cover it up?

I actually think that Owen won’t forget this lesson. Even though it happened almost 6 years ago. He remembers Joey and to steer clear of him even now in middle school. I’ve told Owen that getting punished by a teacher or administrator for something he did wrong doesn’t make me happy. But the disappointment is greater from me if he were to try and cover up his errors with more wrong doing. I’m more proud of his ownership of his actions, than whether or not he gets detention.

Fear of being wrong blog by Frugalista Blog

 

Don’t sabotage your parenting partner

don't sabotage your parenting partner, frugalista blog, parenting styles, different parenting techniques, when your spouse and you parent differently

You know I love giving McSweetie a hard time. I rib him constantly on his lack of finesse when it comes to loading the dishwasher or when he puts food garbage in the recycle bin. That makes me SO STABBY! But I move on. I step away and don’t smother him with a pillow, because I’m nice like that.

But what I have learned over our married life is to not sabotage his parenting. It truly comes down to sometimes just biting your tongue.

Now that the kids are older, we parent together but differently and over different things. Not like in the olden days when there were bedtime routines to struggle with, or sleeping habits of a toddler to argue over, or what to do with a whiny child and how long the time-out should be.

I look back on those days though and remember they were a struggle. Parenting was more physical, more taxing. Now I feel emotionally drained as a parent. Helping my daughter through heartbreak or anxiety over teen stuff is more of a thing around here than whining over a cookie before dinner or struggling with a preschooler during naptime.

Sometimes I get attitude from Owen. He seems to be in a confused place of little boy on the brink of teenhood but with surging emotions and he has even said to me, “I just don’t have words and all I can do is cry!”  Sometimes I want to go soft on him and James will want to be the tough guy on him.

So sure, we differ on our parenting styles, like most parents do.

But of all the things to do with your spouse and disagreeing over how you parent your kids, try not to fall in these sabotage scenarios that will only set a lit match into a powder keg.

Number 1. Probably the most important of all. Do not say, “He never does that around me. What do you do when you’re with him?” Another version of this is, “Why does she always act like that when you’re around?”

Kids behave differently for different people. Even their parents. This is true especially with grandparents. Sometimes the primary caregiver gets more ‘stuff’ thrown at them when they’re with the children day in and day out.

So maybe if you see the kids mostly in the evenings and the weekends, your time with them is different than how they are at school or during the day at home. Kids can be tired and spent from trying to behave in front of teachers all day. Or maybe the stuff you get to do on the weekends is fun and the kids get to let off steam around you. Obviously they are going to act and feel different during those times.

Number 2. Don’t say ‘shut up‘ around the kids to each other or to them.

I firmly believe in this. It has been a rule in our house since the day we were married. When you say shut up to someone it completely negates their validity. It takes away compassion in the argument, it tells the other person that no matter their pain or feelings, you don’t want to hear them. And you know what, it hurts feelings and cuts like a knife.

Number 3. Don’t belittle your spouse in front of your children. If you want to criticize something your partner does, by all means, go ahead. But don’t say it in front of your kids. Okay, well, say it in front of your kids but in a way you would want them to say it to their peers, or their superiors. Speak to your children the way you want them to speak to you. I’m guilty of saying something like, “How come you always do it wrong?” But if Emma talked to Owen that way, I would step in. So instead I should be saying, “I know how you do it gets the job done, but could we try my way to make it more efficient?”

Yes those are more words and more work. I know our fuses can be short. But isn’t this where our love, commitment and effort come into our relationship?

Number 4. Crop dusting your spouse with a task as you walk out the door. You know what I’m talking about. You’re heading out with your girls for the latest Benedict Cumberbatch film and you tell your husband, “Oh hey, while I’m gone, be sure Timmy learns to ride a two-wheeler, and Julie needs to build a rocket ship for the Science Fair.” I mean, maybe that was your husband’s plan while you were out of the house, but if you catch him off guard, he might feel a huge obligation he can’t meet, which puts him on the defense.

The fact of the matter is, your kids love both of you. Whether your spouse parents differently than you do, your children probably love you the same. Just like your spouse loves your children as much as you do. Different styles don’t mean different love.

Focus on that, take a lot of deep breaths and choose your words. And as much as you can, always choose kindness.

Thanks for this round of joining me as Dr. Phil. I try to keep it real folks.

I want to hear about the parenting landmines you try to avoid, share them in the comments or email them to me!

 

 

Big or small, old or young, I’m letting them all have the fun.

Just a short message from me today.

There has been so much discussion, blogs, and articles about the appropriate age for trick or treating. When are kids too old? What’s the cut off age?

Well, isn’t it funny how we constantly point out that the kids today seem to be leaving childhood behind so quickly? Whether it’s how they dress, use social media, are exposed to sex and violence, etc.

So on this holiday of fun and child’s play, let’s let the kids be kids. Whether they are 5 or 15.

If someone comes to my house in a costume and politely says ‘Trick or Treat” I will give them candy. If they look like they probably drove here with their friends in their dad’s car, that’s okay.

My kids are 11 and 14. Our neighborhood is one of those neighborhoods families drive to to take their kids door to door. It’s busy and bustling, kids and families are out in packs. My kids are trick or treating.

Emma, 14, is heading out with a group of her friends. And I’m certain that because they will handle themselves appropriately, they will get candy at every door they knock on.

Owen is with a bunch of kids age 11 to 14. They will go door to door as well.

Because they are all still kids!!

My friend Jen over at Real Life Parenting said that when a teenager comes to her door without a costume and seems to expect candy, she tells them they can have the candy but after they sing a song or do a dance. It makes great entertainment around their friends!

I love that idea. Remember the old, old, old days where Halloween was more tricks? Kids soaping windows, building bon fires in the middle of the town square, throwing flour on folks? Okay, I watch a lot of old movies and Little House.

So I’m letting the kids be kids. Everyone gets candy here.

Of course, it might be some leftover Easter candy or last year’s candy, but hey- Tricks on you!

Happy Halloween.

Be safe.

Frugie Halloween Let the kids trick or treat

 

Why I regret spanking my child

We say it takes a village to raise a child.

It can take a fleet of people to bring home a new baby. Grandparents, neighbors, best friends are all helping the new and bleary-eyed parents with their unfamiliar and exhausting schedule. The dinners are pre-made in the freezer, the laundry folded by a kind grandma, neighbor or mother-in-law are absolutely life savers!

There are countless instances where the village kicks in:

A ride to the pediatrician with your best friend can help you with that cumbersome stroller you’re still getting the hang of collapsing to fit in your trunk…I’ve been there.

When your oldest is sick and you can’t pick up your youngest from school and that helpful neighbor offers to do it for you.

But when it comes to issues like discipline that border on child abuse, we can turn a blind eye and say that how you discipline your kids is your business. What goes on behind closed doors is your business. How you treat or mistreat your spouse is your business.

It’s a Pandora’s Box of taboo topics. A minefield of gray that most of us would rather leave to each his own.

However, if it takes a village to raise a child, why do we neglect one of the parts that is so critical to a child’s psyche and molding in how he or she will perceive violence, corporal punishment, and power?

In the case of NFL player, Adrian Peterson, he took a switch, a small branch from a tree and hit the child repeatedly for interfering with another child’s video game.

This is an old-fashioned form of punishment. Probably one our grandparents endured. I think my dad did. We’ve seen it on episodes of Little House on the Prairie when the school master disciplines a student with a switch or stick. Nuns did this in Catholic schools with rulers, headmasters with paddles.

The difference between those situations and the Adrian Peterson situation is the boy’s injuries and wounds look like they were inflicted out of rage and lack of self control.

Discipline should be carried out judicially. Not in a fit of anger.

This is why I can say I regret some of the spankings I gave my daughter. I know that I reacted in the heat of the moment when I gave her the swat on her diapered backside. Read more

 

Why I regret spanking my child by Frugalista Blog for Bonbon Break

A kid’s guide to how to ask your parents for a hamster

 

A kid's guide to how to ask your parents for a hamster by Frugalista Blog

My daughter knew her father would be a tough sell on getting him convinced she could have a hamster.

We have a cat and a dog and despite my request for a houseful of kittens, he says that we have all the pets we’ll ever have.

Emma is a pretty clever kid.

So she knew that if she left the gate with just, “Dad, can I have a hamster?” the answer would be “NO”.

She decided to come up with a plan.

First- clean your room or bathroom, wherever you plan on keeping the little furry rodent’s dwelling.

Second- don’t ask for anything for awhile and come across as very low maintenance.

Three- have ovary surgery where they rearrange your insides.

Okay, that’s not fair. Not every kid can pull the surgery card, but it does work well if you do have it in your deck.

Find a time when dad isn’t stressed or just came home from work, isn’t distracted by a World Cup game, watching the NBA draft, or finishing his roster for coaching your brother’s soccer game. Yeah, if you understood that sentence, that means there’s very little time dad isn’t stressed or distracted.

Have a whole bunch of your babysitting money saved up so you don’t ask your parents for funding this furry venture.

Once you’ve accomplished all the above, sit down with your dad casually. Probably while he’s chilling with a beer.

And then in your sweetest, yet direct on mature, but not too mature voice, ask, “A lot of my friends have gotten them, and I know it seems weird at first, but I think you’ll consider the idea, can I get a belly button piercing?” Then hold for dramatic pause.

Then when he looks at you in shock, appease his worries with soft laughter,

“Ha ha, I’m just kidding.” “But rather, actually, can I have a hamster?” Then look him squarely in the eye and smile.

Ha! See? It’s the old ‘bait and switch’ tactic!

Once the shock of the thought of his little girl getting some kind of ornamental piercing hanging from a part of her body that he once bathed and applied ointment to the first few days after birth to ensure it healed properly, he can wrap his head around a furry little friend joining your home that pees and poos in a cage of wood shavings.

If at first he gives you the no answer answer, which goes like, “Oh, a hamster, ha ha. I get it. Hmmm…”  and then goes back to his beer and laptop, don’t fret. That’s not actually a ‘No’. It’s a non-answer that just hangs in the air.  What’s critical here is not to press him. Just go with the flow.

If you’re mom is already on board and supporting you with the decision, then let her do the closing.

Do your research and maybe mention a few people you know who have experience with hamsters as pets. Stress the low maintenance feature. Dad’s appreciate this.

It doesn’t hurt to take a trip to a few pet stores and scope out the one you want to get.  Once you find the one you fall in love with, bring back these anecdotes of how you held the cutest, sweetest hamster of the bunch and we wouldn’t want him to get purchased by someone else.

Have your mom approach him casually with, “well, Emma’s gotten all she needs for her hamster and we’ll head to the pet store tomorrow to bring him home. It really was the cutest one and it liked her immediately.”

When your mom helps convince your dad, you’ve hit a home run.

Bring that fur ball home and congratulations! You are now the owner of a tiny rodent.

Oh, and the pee and the bedding do stink. I’m not gonna lie. Be sure to tidy it daily, and clean its shavings weekly. If the smell overwhelms your parents, you’ve failed at the hamster parenting task and they’ll never trust you again.

For part two of this story, stay tuned on how to retrieve your hamster from the floor boards when you lose him behind the bathroom cupboard. That was fun. (sarcasm font)

 

 

 

Little Frugie on the Prairie

I would kick ass as a prairie woman! Okay, except for the outhouse part. And the working from sun up to sun down. And maybe the fact that there was no WiFi in 1888.

BUT, still, I think I would rule the homestead.

I took the children and my friend and her children to a place called Pioneer Farms. It’s in the Ohop Valley in Washington and is a good one hour drive from my house.

Of course, this involved a Starbucks stop and a potty stop on the way. Obviously we weren’t embracing the accurate means of covered wagon travel to get to this pioneering homestead.

So with our iPhones and Galaxy S4s charged up for plenty of pictures and Instagramming, oh, and not to mention lots of hand sanitizer and sunscreen, off we went to experience the life of the pioneers. (sarcasm font)

Upon arrival, of course, I had to pee. So the outhouses they have on the site, are – outhouses. Yep. No Honey Buckets especiale here. These babes haven’t been emptied in at least 50 years. I’m guessing they put some enzyme in them or something so that the waste doesn’t actually climb out and meet you on the freeway. I had been to this farm when I was 9 and the outhouse was in the same location. So if you think they dig a new hole every ten years, then you’d be wrong.

How nice that I’ve dedicated an entire paragraph to outhouses. But the point is, they’re awful. They stink. And anything down wind stinks too. So enjoy that in the middle of the night when your bison fried steak disagrees with you.

We got to see a school house where the rules were made clear that girls got more lashes than boys for having something misspelled or a math problem wrong. Too bad women’s rights would be another 30 years and then some.

The homes were pretty small in those days. I guess since you built them yourself with only your wife and 5 children under the age of 5 to help you, granite counter tops, bonus rooms, and bay windows were kind of hard to come by.

With that said, the homes were really small in those days. So apparently bedrooms and privacy were nil. Personally, I would just make the house bigger if I’m the one building it. But having 7 family members in 100 square feet of space is cozy.

Children did major chores by the time they were 4. And not just gathering eggs from the chickens or kneading bread dough. They cut wood. Can you imagine giving your 4 year old a saw?  Ha ha ha! I know, I know, I know. There was a necessity to make them work so young. I’m not stupid. But still. A saw. Owen can barely butter toast. If I was waiting for the wood for that morning’s breakfast and Owen was in charge of bringing in the wood, we’d be eating at noon.

Our tour started in the barn. We got to milk Daisy the cow and gather the eggs and the children did an excellent job of picking up the chickens to gather them in the coop. The goats and pig and sheep were super cute and friendly. Every kid got a ride on Jake the horse. I would have ridden him too, but I was wearing a skirt and flip flops so that would have been silly if I did.

We would all have been screwed in 1880 without our Zyrtec. We all started sneezing from the hay.

My question is, would I be lactose intolerant back then? Hmm… that would make things a little awkward since coconut milk was not at the General Store.

For your entertainment, here’s all the chores and farm activities I got to do in pictures:

Little Frugie on the Prairie

I’m a po’ down trodden woman. Look how pitiful I look. The bonnet is a nice touch, don’t you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frugie on the Prairie

That shirt was like a piece of cardboard after drying in the sun all day. Can you imagine wearing it?

 

Frugie on the Prairie makes horse shoes

Yeah, so that’s a 2000 degree forge and Owen and I are just you know, heating up metal to hammer and shape for horse shoes. Despite my protective eye wear, I did not feel confident. A flame retardant suit and giant Ov Glove would have made me feel more safe.

Frugie on the Prairie shaving wood

This was one of the jobs a 4 year old would do. Apparently, I’m not as skilled as a 4 year old. It’s the process of shaving down a piece of wood for an ax handle or something. It was quite difficult.

Look Ma, I’m shaving wood!

I caught this chicken and then made it into soup. Just kidding. I didn’t make it into soup. Actually, I didn’t catch it either. Emma did. Notice the photo bomb?