This week, the entire Ingalls family is concerned about Mary. Her grades are suddenly failing, and Pa is the only one smart enough to figure out that she needs glasses. That entire mystery takes most of the episode to solve. After her eyes are opened to a whole new world via glasses, she is immediately terrorized by the Oleson kids who tell her she will never get married now that glasses have turned her into a hideous monster. Mary decides she'd rather fail at school than be a spinster so she hides her glasses. Thankfully, a dopey version of Ryan Gosling swings by to make out with Miss Beadle (who also wears glasses) proving to Mary that maybe the Oleson kids are just mean and have no idea what they are talking about.
Amy, Julie, and Marissa delve into subjects like body image, what personal "flaws" plagued us when we were teenagers, and how we learned we finally needed glasses. We also talk about how depressing Planet Earth can be and how washing your face with oil can possibly solve acne issues.
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Welcome to Season 2! This week, Hansen’s Mill is forced to close due to some unforeseen circumstances leaving the Ingalls family in debt to the Mercantile and on Harriet’s bad side. The whole family manages to rally together to earn enough money while keeping the family farm up and running so that they can clear their debt and purchase caffeine and sugar until the mill reopens.
In addition, we talk about various lighthearted subjects like murdering spouses, poverty, what we ate when we were broke, and the kindness of strangers/friends/co-workers during our lean times.
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Happy New Year and Happy We’ve Made It Through Season 1! And boy was it a journey! Together we have weathered fires, ensorcellment, plagues, angry farmers, murders of hungry crows, rabies, blizzards, hailstorms, explosions, and Johnny Johnson.
In addition to reflecting on some of the highlights of Season 1, we discuss how Pa meets the future version of himself in a struggle that on the surface seems like a case of fragile masculinity, but ends up being something much deeper. Amy, Julie, and Marissa discuss getting older, what events we’d enter in the Walnut Grove Founder’s Day, and why the pie baking contest is deeply flawed. But most importantly, we learn that sometimes it is more important to be kind that right.
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Note: Marissa teared up, and that is a big deal.
As a late Christmas present, we present you with a lighthearted episode featuring fan-favorite Mr. Edwards and Walnut Grove’s resident scarecrow Johnny Johnson. This week, we learn that Johnny has allowed just-enough book learning to seep into his misguided head to cause trouble. Combine that with his father’s ultimatums on focusing on his chores and schoolwork and Mr. Edwards’ tall tales, and we have a lanky, ginger tornado of cringey-ness.
Johnny decides he is through with school and is determined to strike out on his own and see the world and a guilt-ridden Mr. Edwards reluctantly tries to set him on the right path back home. In Mankato, both fellows are outwitted and outplayed by a local saloon girl forcing Mr. Edwards and to learn when it is time to fold ‘em.
This week, we also discuss Reverend Alden’s alter ego, the dark and fascinating history of #PutABirdOnIt, and Julie’s love of architecture.
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Happy Holidays from Walnut Grove! We go back in time (in season 1) to just after Laura goes on her spiritual journey to the mountains to get her baby brother back. Since then, Pa and Ma have apparently bribed her to stay home with a beautiful pony named Bunny. The pony is so nice that Nellie Oleson keeps pressuring her father to buy the pony off of the Ingalls for Christmas, but Laura isn’t selling.
With low funds, every member of the Ingalls family must get creative with their gift-giving this Christmas. Mary earns money by helping the town seamstress, Ma hoards extra eggs to sell, Pa becomes a wheelwright overnight, Carrie has gold hidden throughout the forest, but Laura has no marketable skills (aside from speechwriting.)
In this nod to O’Henry's Gift of the Magi, we reflect on our own gift-giving snafus, favorite Christmas traditions, and laugh way too long about inside jokes from an episode of America’s Next Top Model. Marissa gives a brief history of Christmas in the United States, Amy embarrasses herself by attempting to become a Biblical history scholar, and Julie regales us with tales of her Starbucks Barista days.
Waste Time With These Links
Our Little House Gift Giving Guide
Was Jesus born on December 25th?
America's Next Top Model: "No Fur!"
How to Make Natural Dye with Onions
History of Christmas
"The Gift of the Magi"
Cryability for This Episode
Honorable Mention: Although the Jeff Scale was a 0, Amy did cry constantly during the last 15 minutes of this episode and cried while editing this episode of the podcast.
Are you still looking for the perfect, original gifts for everyone on your list this holiday season? Well look no further 'cause we've got you covered like a wagon! Each gift is sure to be a 10 on the Jeff Scale!
1. A Little House Tissue Box: Does every episode of Little House make you cry? Well now you can snuggle up on the couch next to a stylish tissue cover reminiscent of the actual "little house."
2. Monogrammed Key Chains: Abel's ceramic letters were very thoughtful, but these actually serve a purpose and look great while doing it. Show you've got hit by the learning bug with these fancy tasseled thing-a-ma-bobs.
3. Amish Popcorn Sampler: Rough day at work? Take a cue from Ma and eat your feelings in bed with this healthy, pioneer -friendly snacking kit. Your colon will thank you.
4. Lemon Verbena: Do you wanna smell like the best-dressed teacher on television? Maybe you have a hankerin' to make the mail delivery person jealous with a heavily-fragranced letter? Whatever your mission, this stuff will do the trick!
5. An Embroidered Tea Towel: These cute little embroidered trees scattered across this sweet-looking tea towel makes the perfect going away gift!
6. Hat with a Bird: (Let's be honest, after we watched the royal wedding we all wanted one of these.) If you're visiting your Ma and your Papapaw this holiday season, nothing will impress them more than a fascinator with a bird on it. #PutABirdOnIt
7. Velvet Slippers: They are from Target. They are comfortable. They will help you sneak up on anyone. We guarantee the Mas in your life are dying to get their barking dogs into one of these after slaving over a stove and chasing down a wild three-year-old.
8. Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography: Hidden away since the 1930s, Laura Ingalls Wilder's never-before-published autobiography reveals the true stories of her pioneering life. Some of her experiences will be familiar; some will be a surprise.
9. Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: We all love to hate Nellie Oleson, Now read about the amazing woman behind the blonde banana curls and her real-life tales of life behind the scenes of Little House.
10: Yams: Remember how pumped Ma was when Mr. Edwards gave her some yams? Obviously a bunch of yams are the perfect gift for any woman. Buy these at literally any grocery store.
11. A Prairie Nightgown: Does the lady in your life want to spend her evenings in bed knitting or eating popcorn? Does she go to the bathroom in the middle of night outdoors? Then this is the perfect gift for her!
12. Watch Necklace: For the independent and sassy business woman, this clock necklace tells every man you don't need their help to tell time.
1. #NightgownsForMen: Need we say more?
2. A Work Water Bottle: Hydration is important. This vintage inspired work water bottle is sure to be a conversation starter, and it may help your backwoods single uncle a chance to catch the eye of the lady that works across the office floor.
3. Miracle Powders: Unfortunately Willie O'Hara doesn't have his miracle powders for sale online, but we did find a powder that claims to do a lot of things (aid digestion, clean pores, whiten teeth, etc.) However, our lawyers would like us to point out that if you are having pain in your appendix, please go to the emergency room STAT!
4. Pa's Christmas Shirt: No one can ever have too many plaid flannel shirts.
5. A Hatchet: Did your fella lose his hatchet due to low blood sugar? Get him a new one!
6. Manly Tobacco Candle: Not every man can look as great as Pa smoking a pipe, but now he can make any room smell like he does.
7. Long John Underwear: Do you wish your boyfriend/husband/whatever dressed like a baby? Maybe he has to cross a frozen river to deliver presents, but he doesn't want to get his clothes wet. Whatever his situation, this gift covers all the bases and even has that genuine tush flap in the back.
8. Lincoln Logs: Let your man feel like he can build an entire house out of logs for you. Sure, it will only be a little house for ants, but it is the thought that counts.
9. Whiskey Glass with Bullet: No saloon in town? NO PROBLEM! This glass will make anyone feel like a showdown is happening any time they pour a drink.
1. A Cursed Pony: Despite looking everywhere, we were unable to find the exact rocking horse from the show, but we did find his slightly-less-demented-but-way-more-drunk cousin. This is the perfect gift for your least-favorite toddler.
2. A Real Rattlesnake Rattle: "Shake, shake, shake! Rattlesnake shake!" Is your sister planning a nursery with a rustic vibe? What could be more homespun than a genuine rattlesnake rattle? A delight for all ages, this rattle will keep even the wildest preschooler entertained.
3. Tin Mugs: Are your children finally ready for their own cups? These are bold, durable, and brightly colored.
4. Little House on the Prairie Paper Dolls: Amy and Julie had this exact set as children. Hours of old-fashioned fun are at your fingertips.
5. A Christmas Star Tree Topper: "Happy birthday, Jesus!" - Carrie Ingalls
6. A Set of Innocence Eggs: Give the gift of innocence this season... Each set of wooden eggs comes with both brown and white eggs for diversity purposes. Kids will love throwing these at stuff, hiding them around the house, and making pretend breakfast. Each egg has a 60% protection against ensorcellment from wandering wizards in bad suits. XP 20.
7. A Raccoon Puppet: Granted, this isn't a real raccoon; but with a little practice, this new fuzzy friend can move just like one. Bonus: It won't give your children rabies or eat their toes.
8. A Shiny Christmas Penny: If we learned anything from Little House this season, it is that kids love pennies. Find them in your old coat pockets and under the couch cushions.
9. The Complete Set of Little House on the Prairie Books: Start 'em young!
10. A Country Girl Cosplay Set: Perfect for young Little House fans or any homeschooler.
11. A Slate: The OG iPad.
12: Gross Old-Timey Candy: Hand out some vintage candy to all the neighborhood kids this year. Save your favorite flavors for all of the nice kids, and save flavors like black licorice and sassafras for that little brat in the cul-de-sac.
13. A Copper Fish Nail Clipper: While this version of Carrie's copper fish from Tinker Jones is slightly less dangerous, it is never too early to teach children about good grooming habits.
14. A Chicken Coop with Plush Chickens: Teach your kids about the cycle of life with this awesome toy chicken coop complete with 4 plush chickens! Combine these with the innocence eggs above, and you have plenty of egg-gathering fun.
Bundle up, because this week we weave a tale of the Ingalls family stranded on the road in an abandoned cabin while they wait out a torrential blizzard. During this time, they must keep their spirits up, fend off starvation, deal with a “renegade” Sioux lurking in the forest nearby, and above all… survive the overwhelming hatred that consumes the US Marshall stranded with them.
This week we also discuss the commonly used TV trope of bottle episodes, commercials in the 1970s, US Government and Native American relations, the Donner Party, and how Germans were duped into immigrating to the state of Missouri.
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Top 10 Bottle Episodes on Television
TV Commercials from 1975 (when this episode originally aired)
Amy's Favorite Scene from Fantastic Mr. Fox
Book About the Donner Party (some good winter readin')
How to Survive a Blizzard
How to Deal with a Racist Person
Cryability for this Episode
This week Pa holds the equivalent of a Tupperware party for corn all thanks to a bushy-chested ginger named Joe Coulter with a college degree and big ideas. When a tragedy strikes on Joe’s journey home, Pa must venture out on a one-man search party while the rest of the Walnut Grove farmers stew in a growing rage fest of sweat and bitterness.
Amy, Julie, and Marissa talk all things 127 Hours, Titanic, Castaway, things that spook horses, and why corn is one of the largest and most problematic crops in the United States today. Amy also gives a lot of unwanted advice about how to act around pregnant women, leaving notes about where you are going, and sugar consumption. Enjoy!
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Cryability for This Episode
Due to a lot of last-minute holiday travel plans and other unforeseen circumstances, we will not be dropping an episode for the next two weeks. We will be back with a FANTASTIC episode all about corn (woo-wee!) on December 5th.
Our deepest apologies for interrupting our regularly scheduled podcast format. We thank you for your understanding.
In the meantime, Julie found out that Michael Landon, Jr... get this... writes historical Christian romance novels! (Click on the images for links to buy on Amazon.)
Have a safe and happy holiday.
All our best,
Amy, Julie, and Marissa
Trigger Warning: This episode involves alcoholism and child abuse.
This week we explore another dark episode that portrays some troubling social issues: alcoholism and child abuse. When John Stewart (not that Jon Stewart of Daily Show fame) beats his son into unconsciousness in a drunken rage, the town of Walnut Grove (and especially the Ingalls family) cannot choose to ignore what is happening any longer.
Thanks to Miss Beadle, Ma, Pa, and Doc Baker, appropriate measures are taken in order to provide healing to both the father and son.
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Cryability for this Episode