Archive for March, 2011

…because I’m going to open a highly controversial can of worms.

Here goes…

To spank or not to spank. That is the question.

They are not happy about this concept. I'm pretty sure.

So, right now, you are either thinking to yourself, “Sure! My parents spanked me, I spank my kids. What’s the problem?” OR “You’re crazy! Spanking kids injures their delicate psyches and creates a fear situation. No, no, no!”

I’m most decidedly and completely on the fence.

Before I became a parent, I saw nothing wrong with spanking when used as a punishment, not in anger. Not that I was spanked, but I was a spoiled rotten child who needed a good swift kick in the ass sometimes. My childhood is certainly not the spanking litmus test.

Once I had kids, I couldn’t imagine ever laying a hurtful hand on their sweet, pink bodies. Until they turned about three, that is. So, now I’m beginning to form something that looks somewhat like a conclusion at the edges of my gray matter — spanking as consequence doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.

My kids that I love with all my heart are amazing little people with a great big honkin’ flaw — they have no sense of respect. None. Zip. Zero. I’m told that this is normal for children to be disrespectful and that they will someday learn how to think of others and my job is to constantly remind them until they learn.

But these highly intelligent modern kids know that there is no consequence for their disrespect. They get yelled at — they could not care less. They get toys taken away from them — they don’t bat an eye. They lose electronics privileges — no biggie, they’ll just play something else.

Case in point: before we went away on vacation, I told them that the next day, they had three hours (after homework until dinner time) to properly clean and organize their room. Everything that they did not put away properly would be thrown away or sold. They were reminded of this many times. They have a clock in their room. They know how to tell time and do math. Did they do it? Not really. They played and goofed around and got about half of it done. They don’t care that their things got thrown away.

The only thing that they care about is having fun at the expense of quite literally everything else. No, really. I mean that.

Yes, I know that kids are supposed to play. They are hard wired for fun. But I firmly believe that I am molding future adults. The behaviors that they shape as children will follow them into adulthood. Bad habits are MUCH harder to break as adults. Good habits are MUCH harder to learn. I know from my own personal experience that this is 100% true. If you let a kid do whatever they want their entire childhood and never teach them any life skills, they will flounder as a new adult. Period.

Is that what I want for my kids? Hell, no.

I have read EIGHTEEN “peaceful” style parenting books and implemented the tools therein throughout their lives. None of their ideas – which seem brilliant and useful – actually work for us.

These glorious children are being provided with the opportunity to learn life skills that will give them wings. They don’t care because it’s work. It’s not fun. They don’t have any reason to respect us. Why should they? Because we put food on the table? They think that food magically appears in the grocery store. Money just magically appears in the bank. A little plastic card makes everything ours. The house we live in is a fairytale castle. Our car works with pixie dust and happy thoughts.


So what do I really want for my children? If they have no respect for others and no work ethic, how will they survive? At this moment, I am convinced we are raising a generation of pussies who will have no practical life and social skills.

I read Little House in the Big Woods the other day, and it occurred to me that those who were raised before the gentle parenting movement were a hell of a lot more respectful. They worked. Hard. They earned their keep and helped keep their family alive. All of that has been lost to this soft society of cheap fuel and buzzing instant entertainment. We have too much time on our hands and kids are becoming LAZY and ungrateful. I also realized that Laura Ingalls deeply loved and respected her father even though (and I daresay because) he used a switch or a strap to “tan her backside” when she broke the rules. Was it done in anger? No. But the consequence was expected if the rules were broken, and they followed the rules — and learned them well.

My three bigs are neither motivated by punishment nor reward. They have a reward chart to make it easy for them to “be good” and stay on track with what is expected from them to keep our large family going. Does it work? Only marginally. They just don’t care. Why should they? They get fed. They have thousands of toys to distract them. They have a roof over their heads. Why should they care if they take care of their things or not? They think they’ll just get replaced. Why should they keep their bathroom clean? Clean up after themselves? What happens to them if they don’t do it? NOTHING!!!!!!

They don’t care because there is no consequence. They don’t mind playing in a dirty room. They don’t mind sleeping on dirty sheets. They don’t mind pulling dirty clothes out of the hamper to wear. They don’t care at all. They have proven this over and over again with their actions. We ask them to do something, and they completely ignore us. There is a disturbing lack of respect in our home.

I do not want to raise children who grow into little Hannah Montana monsters with overblown senses of entitlement who think they are cute when they are sassy and rude.

So these observations and ponderings have led me to consider an out-of-vogue parenting style.

I would love to see comments on this. Constructive, thoughtful comments. Any blasting, flaming or whiny nonsense will not be approved.

On your mark…get set…go…




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Day 31

Janie & Josh

We arrived home from a 5-day trip to Georgia, nervous about how our garden had fared. We were pleasantly surprised to find that everything had grown beautifully and our dormant apple trees were stretching their new leaves out!

The girls dubbed the trees Janie and Josh. Janie’s leaves are covered with a soft white fuzz, which makes her a girl, I’m told.

Josh's dark green "boy" leaves

Janie's fuzzy "girly" leaves reach towards the sun


For those who don’t know, muskmelon is a relative of the cantaloupe. Those lovely orange fruits in the grocery store are actually a variety of muskmelon. Apparently they think the word cantaloupe sounds better. ::shrug:: Go figure.


We planted three varieties of tomato — all of which are doing amazingly well!

bell pepper

This is called Carnival Blend. It is supposed to be a mix that grows even purple peppers! (Peter picked a peck of purple peppers?)

green beans

These are such beautiful seedlings! I love the thick, fuchsia stems! I can’t wait to eat them. I LOVE fresh green beans!


It’s absolutely magical how peas grow. The leaves unfold from the center and the little tendrils creep out from the ends of the leaf pairs. So beautiful!


Yummy, yummy, yummy. I love corn so very much, and I can’t stand the GMO crap in the grocery store. How amazing it will be to have delicious sweet corn!!!! I’m drooling already.


The spinach started off strong, but some of it seems to have wilted away. I think it may have been the 5 day water deficit.


attempting to sprout pecans

We brought some backyard pecans back from Georgia, so I thought I’d give some of them a shot at sprouting. You never know, right? πŸ™‚

winter squash

My little plant is growing up! Look at the wilting baby leaves. I think the baby leaf fairy will have to come and leave some fresh compost under its pillow. πŸ˜‰


These are a mixed color carrot. Purples, reds, oranges, whites, and yellows! I think the kids will love seeing the different colors coming out of the ground like magic.


This is our mystery plant. At the end of the day on Day 1, I forgot to label the last yogurt cup. I’m fairly certain that this is buttercrunch lettuce. πŸ™‚

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Success!!! I am absolutely giddy!

pasta sauce

This is what the jar of pureed sauce looked like when I started yesterday. As it dried, the fact that the tomato is a fruit and the sauce is on the sugary side created a fruit leather consistency initially.

But I pressed on, and discovered that I am not fond of this Gardenmaster dehydrator! I’m looking forward to finding an Excalibur I can relieve someone of. Anybody have one they don’t want?

No, really. Seriously. Please? πŸ™‚

Anyhow… Eventually, almost 24 hours later, the sauce dried out enough that I could peel it from the fruit leather tray and place it on the drying rack.

It finally was crispy enough this morning to tear it into about 1″ size pieces and put them into the bowl of my Ninja mixer (which I adore).

And then…the massacre:

It worked!!!!!!!!!!!! Holy moly, it worked!!!!!

A big jar of sauce like the one on the left had become these perfect little chunks and crystals of tomato sauce. Amazing. πŸ™‚

Dinner for 6. πŸ™‚ That’s about 2/3 of a box of Quick Cook (3 minute pasta), an entire bag of frozen peas, and a whole jar of pasta sauce. My theory behind using the Quick Cook is that if I use the right amount of water, the whole thing will cook up at once, thus reducing our need for fuel.

Here’s a picture of the three original states for comparison of size! My storage space requirement has substantially dropped!

Sweet! πŸ™‚

We’re going to cook it using the rocket stove that Adam made to test out how functional it is in an emergency situation.

I’m really looking forward to that!

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One of my new favorite blogs, Food Storage Made Easy, issued a challenge today for their readers to submit some new 72-hour kit ideas. Two of the types of kits they’re looking for are Healthy Options and Kid Friendly.

Got it. That fits us to a T!

The silver lining here is that it gave me the kick in the you-know-where that I needed to do some experiments I’ve been meaning to try.

72 Hour Kit contents for my 8-year-old and 1-year-old

I like the idea of using backpacks. Especially for kids. They are really not good at carrying things without whining every five feet unless it’s their favorite toy that they are actively playing with.

Their three days worth of water are in the cloth grocery bags on the right and left. I also include a favorite book to read, a small toy, a coloring book and crayons, an emergency whistle, a toothbrush, and a small bag of baby wipes. Also in the bags will be a metal fork and knife. I like the idea of being able to keep them and reuse them for other meals. Also, stirring hot food with a plastic spoon is just gross. Each backpack will also have a metal camping mug for drinking and eating. The emergency stoves, can openers, matches or lighters, and fuel tablets will be in the grown-ups’ backpacks.

And don’t forget vitamins! We have a few bottles of Berry Garden Gummies in our food storage for the kids (we have multis for us grown-ups). Three days’ worth can easily be sealed in a Foodsaver bag.

We try to be as careful as possible about consuming foods that contain artificial additives, so everything here is about as healthy as possible for emergency food.

toddler backpack

big kid backpack

Caroline’s backpack contains much of the same food that her brother and sister would have, with a few exceptions.


  • 3 packets of instant oatmeal (none of those colored frankenmeal ones – just maple, cinnamon, or organic varieties)
  • 1 sealed foodsaver bag of 3 days’ worth of dehydrated apple chips (with an oxygen absorber to extend shelf life)


  • 1 can of Bush’s baked beans, 8 oz. pop top (This is used as a cooking vessel to heat other foods – wash and save this can after use.)
  • (toddler backpack) 3 pouches of “squeezy fruit” baby food (Plum Organics, Ella’s Kitchen, or Happy Baby – found online, Target, or Babies/Toys R Us)
  • (big kid backpack) 3 pouches of big kid squeezable applesauce
  • 1 can of chunk light tuna in water (This fish contains much less mercury than the white or albacore.
  • 2-3 foil packets of mayonnaise and relish (to make an impromptu tuna salad)
  • 1 can of Shelton’s Chili (Delicious and additive-free! Two kids can share a can.)


  • 3 Cascadian Farms kid size peanut butter chocolate chip granola bars
  • 1 small resealable bag of dried fruit or 3 large raisin boxes
  • 6Β  Yummy Earth lollipops and/or a small bag of Surf Sweets gummies
  • 3 small lunchbox size packs of crackers such as Late July
  • 1 wheel of Laughing Cow cheese wedges (8 wedges – the kids can share these. They do not require refrigeration.)


  • 3 2-liters of reverse osmosis filtered water, each with a small rock of Himalayan pink salt added in order to re-mineralize the water.
  • 1 bottle of Honest Tea (save it! This is good for further water storage.)
  • 2 packets of Crystal Light Pure (sweetened with stevia and sugar, all natural flavors and colors)
  • 1 packet of Emergen-C

Note: It is not recommended that water be stored in cars. The heat that builds up in parked cars can cause the plastic to leach into the water. Gross does not even begin to describe it. If you’re concerned about not having water in your car in an emergency, consider adding empty Katadyn bottles, purification tablets (I LOVE that store, btw – campingsurvival.com), and/or a SteriPen UV purifier to your kits.


  • 3 Foodsaver packets (with oxygen absorbers) of Ronzoni Quick Cook macaroni style pasta with dehydrated tomato sauce powder and dehydrated peas (or other veggie)
  • 1 can of chicken (This can be divided amongst the kids and added to their pasta.)

This is where my experiment comes in. One of my pet peeves is the ridiculous abuse of MSG by the food manufacturing industry. It is darn near impossible to find processed foods that don’t contain some form of it. I try to keep this at an absolute minimum in our diet, and only in the form of occasional yeast extract way at the bottom of the ingredient list.

My experiment involved finely pureeing a can of Muir Glen split pea soup and a jar of Classico pasta sauce and attempting to dehydrate them at home. The dehydrated soup and sauce would be further pulverized into a powder in my Ninja blender. I would then make a blend of the soup and some mashed potato flakes and seal it into individual servings in Foodsaver bags with oxygen absorbers. The tomato sauce would go into individual serving packets with some dehydrated peas and Quick Serve pasta, also with oxygen absorbers.

peas - frozen! straight from the bag

pasta sauce

split pea soup

I’ll keep you posted about how my experiment turns out and will post more about the further adventures of our 72-hour backpacks as they unfold. Stay tuned! πŸ˜‰

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Try to take over the world!!!!!


Ahem. Er…sorry about that.

So, last night, after Caroline went to bed, Adam and I played Monopoly.

"Um. What are you doing?" "Oh, nothing. Just documenting."

As you already know, this usually ends in some form of colossal financial failure for me. True to form, Adam whooped me soundly during our first round.

"Ha! I win again! My Monopoly empire reigns supreme!"

I even tried not to trade anything stupid or buy any useless properties!

See! I even had TWO good monopolies! WTF?!?

Adam went against his own Monopoly Tycoon Rules and bought Boardwalk and Park Place.

You think your rent is bad? Try landing on one of these bad boys...

Yeah, that’s my battleship. Sinking under the Boardwalk.

BUT! I am no pushover! I resurrected my battleship for another round. A rematch to determine the true champion of the evening!

"I declare my lovely and brilliant wife to be the ultimate Monpoly Champion!" (boo hoo hoo....sniffle...pout)

Yes, that’s right! I WON!!!!! I shall leave you now with some scenes of his crushing defeat. A financial massacre of epic proportions…

My riches! All mined one by one from his pockets.


Take that, horsey man!!!!! Mwahahahaaaaaa!!!!!!!

And, yes, I do get to gloat. I only win once a year or so!


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Thanks to Publix’s Italian Days sale (I love you, Publix.) and a trip to the local LDS Home Storage Center (staffed by very helpful and generous people), our food storage is really coming along!

In this basket are some of the canned Muir Glen soup, Green Giant veggies, and Progresso beans that were part of the awesome sale.

The rest of the cans are in the trunk on the left. Um…buried under other stuff.

And in here are all of the lovely Classico pasta sauces I got. Seventy-something jars for $12. A happy day it was, indeed.

Here’s the receipt. I think it’s my longest one yet! Pay no attention to the surrounding toddler tornado, please.

This is my favorite part of the receipt. Keeping in mind that half of the total I paid was additional budget for food storage, this is pretty darn amazing. Publix rocks my world. πŸ™‚ Ever since I learned the Jedi secrets of couponing, we’ve cut our food bill in half. If you want to learn how to do this, too, you can either ask me or head over to www.iheartpublix.com.

Yesterday, we drove down to the local Home Storage Center and bought a massive bulk box of dehydrated apple chips, some #10 cans for making a rocket stove, some mylar storage bags, and some oxygen absorbers.

After quality testing several of the apple chips (they were fine – I promise – and very yummy), then tasting a few more just to make sure, I put most of the apple chips into vacuum seal bags with oxygen absorbers. These will be stored in this dark container to help keep light from degrading the food.

I was thinking that it didn’t seem like a good use of the mylar to keep only one item in each bag. So I have meals enclosed in each one.

For example, in this bag, I have vacuum sealed 2 days worth of apple chips and oats (yummy breakfast!) into plastic food saver bags with oxygen absorbers. These have been sealed into a mylar bag to ensure light and air are kept away from the food inside. Supposedly, this method of storage will keep the food inside edible for up to 30 years! Pretty amazing, I’d say.

And lastly, our water storage. Each bag contains enough water for one person for three days. There are seven bags. I can’t imagine storing enough for three months!





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Our little garden grew today!

Our tomatoes are now caged. Not that they’re big enough to need them yet, but we were able to get them. So in they went!

And in other news…our apple trees arrived today! How exciting is that?! We ordered one granny smith and one fuji, which do well in the zone where our land is. Once we get the land cleared and prepped, we’ll plant them up there.

Caroline helped me remove them from their old pots and replant them in larger ones. She loved digging in the dirt, and we got lucky enough to discover some red worm hitchhikers in the tree roots! They are now happily pigging out in our compost bin.

It was so scary pruning them! I watched the fantastic pruning video by groworganic.com, but it was still so strange cutting my tree!

I think they look beautiful!

The sky looked pretty phenomenal, too, just before sunset. And check out this bud!

I can’t wait to see how they grow once spring arrives!

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