We are about 10 months into dealing with Covid and things don’t seem to be letting up any time soon. I was looking back over pictures from the year today and I was struck by how sudden everything was last Feb/March when everything shut down. […]
Travelling has always been something that we have wanted to do as a family but we have never actually done much of. Before we had the youngest we took 2-4 small trips a year spread between Oregon, the Washington Coast and Vancouver, BC for a […]
Since being laid off I have been trying to spend time with family and friends. My Dad is nearing retirement and has some free time as well so I have been trying to get the kids out to see him on the family property out on Whidbey Island. A better part of my childhood was spent out there walking in the woods with my Grandpa learning the names of the trees, looking for frogs and clearing trails. It is one of my favorite places and I am really grateful that we are able to pass on the tradition with our kids. Many of the trails we made as kids are still there but need some major work.
My grandparents were uber frugal before it was a fancy way to reach Financial Independence. When I was little they built a house on inherited land and set it up as their home base while they traveled all over the country. They bought every thing on sale, used items until they were very broken and heated their home with the wood they chopped outside in the yard. The grandkids would stay out there periodically and we played outside all day long making forts, wandering around in the woods and hitting golf balls into the woods (which we still find today). We had so much fun and learned a lot about how to be out in the woods safely. My Dad and my Grandpa taught us which plants to avoid, which ones we could eat and we helped out keeping the property clear and the trails open.
We went for a walk the last time we were out there and it was awesome to see my Dad interacting with the kids the same way he had with us when we were little. My kids have a set of fresh eyes when walking in the woods. We have not been out to Whidbey as much as I would have liked in the last year because of ongoing sickness and a crazy schedule but being out there recently reminded me of how much I would love to have a wooded retreat of our own to take the kids out to on the weekends. Mr. Oscoey and I have talked about someday buying property with woods and streams and such but “someday” has always been too far out to be tangible.
There is something to be said for spending time walking the same woods over the course of many seasons or even years. The surroundings change as the seasons move forward and plants you may have seen in April will have withered away by August. I remember when my Grandpa and Grandma cleared this path 30 or so years ago. It took many months and lots of help from the relatives but everyone worked together to get the project done. When my oldest daughter was about five I remember seeing a litter of baby coyotes play in the clearing which is one of my all time favorite memories.
One of the best parts of walking in the woods is learning to be more aware of your surroundings. We came across some deer tracks on our walk and the kids loved hearing about how you could tell the age of the track and where the deer went afterwards. We also spent quite a bit of time experimenting with stepping on branches to see if we could get them to snap and make a loud noise. This kind of random fun experiment is one of the best ways to get kids engaged with science without making it seem like a chore. We talked about which branches were better for snapping (drier ones) and how the larger ones required more weight to snap and everyone took turns snapping and helping each other snap branches. The kids had a lot of fun trying it out and they were very tired after our long walk!
We had a great time walking out in the woods and the kids learned quite a bit about their surroundings while spending quality time with Grandpa. I am hoping to get back out there once a month or so now that our schedule has cleared a little bit. We are not afraid of the weather so we will be out in all sorts of conditions! I also want to make more time to spend outside at our house but our kids go to bed so early these days it is hard to find the time.
How do you spend your outdoor time?
Mr. Oscoey and I took some time a little bit ago to spend some time together since I have so much more free time now that I have been laid off. We had a great time exploring the Amazon Spheres, Pike Place Market and just […]
We have come to the end of our Uber Frugal Month Challenge and we were pretty successful! We kept to our super low grocery budget, were mindful about our purchases and had some great discussions about where we want our life to head and what […]
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Adding a Puppy to the Family
We added a puppy to our family in the Fall of 2016 and even though we have owned dogs for many years, we have never had a young puppy. We got our dachshund Zoey at 6 months and by then she had outgrown many of her young puppy traits. We came into our puppy through close friends whose Golden Retriever we had loved for many years. We had always said we would want one of his puppies and since their neighbor’s Giant Schnauzer had gotten out just at the right time the opportunity presented itself.
Adding a puppy with two young children, a teenager heading off to college in a year and without a fenced yard was a slightly crazy decision on our part but we decided to take the plunge and he is a member of the family now.
He was tiny and he was cute and he slept through the night in his crate from the very beginning with no accidents. Zoey our temperamental dachshund that does not like any other dogs took to him immediately. That being said there were many crazy days when George’s high energy lead to some less desirable behaviors. Here are five things that we discovered along that way that helped immensely.
1. Crate Training
I can’t emphasize this enough. Puppies need their rest time otherwise they turn into crazy, bitey, squiggly beasts that are unable to listen to a word you say. It turns out that when you have loud, high energy children and a high energy puppy they will feed off of each other and the puppy will not rest so creating a calm safe environment for George was a must. He loves his crate and most mornings when the children get loud he asks to go sleep in it so he can nap in peace. We bought this Double-Door Folding Metal Dog Crate from Amazon and it works really well.
2. Special Kong for Crate Time
We wanted crate time to be happy time so we rewarded George for being in the crate with a KONG puppy. Now that he is older and has all of his adult teeth we bought him the KONG extreme which he loves to have treats stuffed in while he chews. We bought hard biscuit type treats from our local pet store but some people use foam spray or small pieces of dog food for their dogs to eat. At some point we will try making our own treats which is something the kids would love to help with.
3. Daily Exercise
Physical activity is required for any dog, especially high energy ones. It is very important not to overdo it the first year though, especially with larger breeds of dogs because they can develop hip dysplasia later in life. We started out walking George up and down our street at about 12 weeks. That is the age our vet said we could take him outside but not interact with other dogs yet. At 16 weeks we were able to take him to puppy play time at Petco which I highly recommend. They have a trainer there that helps with the play time and gives you tips on how the dogs are interacting. You can look up times for your local Petco here.
4. Mental Stimulation
Working your puppy’s brain out will also help with boredom and chewing. We went through many toys trying to figure out what would keep George busy playing independently. The best investment for us was hands down this treat ball . Both of our dogs love it and will play with it for hours. We fill it with our regular dog food and let him at it. There are a couple of different settings you can place it on depending on how difficult you want to make. it.
5. Lots of Safe Toys for Chewing
If you provide several safe options for you puppy to chew on they will be less likely to chew on your furniture. Variety is key and just like with my kids, I rotate toys with the puppy. I wash them about once a week with color-safe bleach which gets all of the stinky dog slobber smell out and to him they smell new. If you don’t have time to wash them that often you could just keep some in a box and switch them out every few days. I give George one or two “new” to him toys every day and it seems to keep him more engaged. We were having a problem with George ripping off chunks of his soft toys and then eating them on the sly so I went out and bought a Georgia Gator Tuff Dog Toy and man has this thing lasted. We were going through a toy a day from George’s strong teeth and this one he can’t rip through so even though it cost more money it is a better deal in the end. So far it has lasted about 3 weeks with no tears. I spent a whopping $30 on it but the two weeks prior I had been desperately buying toys left and right and spent about $60. None of the cheaper toys are in the rotation any more. They have all bit the dust.
Whew I am really glad we are past the young puppy stage and George has started to calm down a bit. We are dealing with a teenager puppy but now that we have gotten the hang of things it is going much smoother. Have fun snuggling your puppies!