Monday, June 25, 2012

Seize the Adventure!

One thing I learned through my dad's early death from cancer is that we often make the mistake of thinking we have enough time. We decide that we have years ahead of us to do those things we really want to do or we have years ahead to have children. You know what I am talking about, right?

My parents thought they had years ahead of them to travel, but my dad was sadly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer only a few months after he retired. They only "thought" they had lots of time.

Well, I realize that some things do have to wait BUT when an opportunity arises we should seize it with all we can.
There are a few things I want to see or do one day which include:

1. Traveling to Israel. 

2. Exploring Alaska.

3. Canoeing the Everglades.

4. Watching the sun set in Key West.

Well, first I must say that I don't know that travel will ever be safe enough to really go to Israel. At least not at this time, but it will always be on my list.

Alaska will cost a heavy penny because I want to spend a few weeks there, really exploring. I don't think a cruise will satisfy this category, although I would not turn one down:-)

Every time I mention the Everglades my husband rolls his eyes and reminds me that there are a ton of bugs and insects there waiting to bite the crap out of us. I think he fears I will one day book this trip and make him join along. But, seriously, it would be an awesome adventure!

Well, Devin informed me that he had this  week off and suggested we hop in the car and make a quick trip to Panama City Beach, FL sans the kiddos. This would be a great time because the cow is dry and the chickens are still weeks from processing. Well I did even better and booked a quick trip to Key West. Why not?

So I have been busy cleaning, doing laundry and making sure everything is set and ready for my awesome mother who will be staying here with the kids.

Early in the morning we will be on a plane and headed south. Tomorrow night guess who will be watching the sun set in Key West? Lucky me:-)

What plans are on your "to do someday" list?

See you when I get back!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Boob is a 4 Lettered Word

 It's the new four lettered word, at least if the boob you are referring to is feeding an infant.  If by boob you mean to discuss a pair of assets on any female, well then it's a glorious word. You can look at television and advertising and magazines and see that boobs are everywhere, strutted and flaunted, and barely covered with any clothing. It's acceptable too, just don't show a boob feeding a  baby because then it suddenly becomes gross or twisted or inappropriate. You better have the boob covered well too because nobody wants to see least not while it performs the job it was intended for by nature.
                     ***Boobs are for feeding babies! My youngest nursing within minutes of birth.***

When my first born was still a nursing baby I was not very comfortable nursing in public. If I was out shopping I would find a ladies' dressing room to sit and feed Journee when needed. I always nursed her too before venturing out to the post office or the grocery store, and many times we would sit in the car to nurse.

Then one day I decided to take a stroll through the mall and do a little shopping with Journee in my arms, of course, when there in plain view and in the middle of the mall and right smack dab on a bench sat a lady nursing her baby. In PUBLIC! She must have been the bravest woman on the planet to just sit there, reading a book and feeding her baby like it was no big deal!

I wish I knew who that brave sister was because she forever changed my view on public breastfeeding. She brought what was normal out and into the open. She let me know that there is never an acceptable reason to nurse behind a door, EVER! She assured me that if all breastfeeding mothers would simply sit quietly and nurse in public that eventually it would be overlooked and be seen as something as normal and natural as walking.

From that day forward I vowed that I would always breastfeed my babies in public so that other mothers who are apprehensive (as I once was) might see that it's OK. Breastfeeding is normal. I would be the brave one.
                      ***Usually women try and nurse discreetly. Willow nursing.***

There was a saying on FB a few weeks ago that said this:   If you say, "I support breastfeeding, BUT......" then you do not support breastfeeding. 

There is no need to suggest that all women should keep it super discreet or use cover up cloths or only nurse in a designated area. Let me state right now that most women are discreet and sometimes a nursing baby just likes to push your shirt or blouse up and out of the way. There have been times when quite a bit was showing while I nursed because my baby constantly tugged and pulled on my top. That can't be helped, and honestly if you are offended by the boob that's showing, then you are staring too hard.
Those cover ups? If there was ever a way to draw MORE attention to the fact that you are breastfeeding, well it's those cover ups. I hate them. They are ugly and it's just one more item that women think they must own in order to breastfeed. If you really feel like you need something for more coverage the I suggest you buy a sling. Not only can you carry your baby close to you, but they are great for nursing a baby as well.
            ***Slings allow you to hold your infant and still have two hands free. Zeb is sleeping.***

I once attended a church that had designated areas for nursing mothers. I think that is great if it's optional. It should never be more than optional. I get that churches are typically modest and conservative but I doubt Mary sat and nursed baby Jesus in a room away from everyone. Again, this is a situation where if all the breastfeeding moms would nurse out in the open, it would become common and more acceptable. It's a situation where instead of asking "What would Jesus do?" one should ask "What would Mary do?"
       ***Breastfeeding is healthy for mom and baby and dads are a big support base for mom. Zeb within minutes of birth nursing.***

Finally, I feel a great amount of responsibility falls on the shoulders of our men. When a husband and father supports breastfeeding with all his heart it gives mom a boost in self confidence that is often times needed for successful breastfeeding. This includes breastfeeding in public. Men are the target audience for all of the ads and programs that flaunt the boobs we see so often. I am not attacking you men for liking boobs, I am merely suggesting that you not only embrace their beauty but their function as well. I think fathers play a huge role in the process of normalizing public breastfeeding.

Now, it's time to take boob off the naughty list of words!

Thank you to everyone for voting for me in the Circle of Moms Top 25 contest! I landed at the number three spot and could not be happier! The two blog ahead of me are fabulous and I am thrilled to be in the top 3 with them! Thanks again and I will give the link when all of the interviewing is finished so you can check out the Top 25!

Have a great weekend!!!!!!!!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Outdoor Movie Nights

Let's talk teens! Let's talk about fun stuff to do and a great reason to host those fun activities!

As some of you may know, when summer starts we put up our outdoor movie screen and start hosting movie nights all the way through October.

This has become a much loved activity and we really enjoy hosting the events. Some nights we have family movies, some nights are for teens and adults, and a couple of times we have shown scary movies.

Here's is what we have built, in case any of you are considering building an outdoor theater too.

 The movie screen is a 10 foot x 20 foot tarp that we purchased from Creative Shelters. It's sturdy and works very well. We have it mounted to our back deck, although you could build a frame or even find blow up screens online.

Here's a close up of the metal poles(frame) and such that Devin uses to mount and hang the tarp.

 This is our projector that we bought from Best Buy. I have seen them at Costco too. This one is a mid range as far as price goes. The bulbs or lamps are expensive when they burn out and need replacing. For all you men out there, my husband actually has one wall in the basement dedicated to using this projector . He plays Halo and watches his movies on the huge wall. It's a man's (and teenager's) dream.

 My husband uses this cart to keep the projector on and he sits next to it during the movie.

These speakers are new to us this year. We had smaller speakers last year, but these are nicer and if you watch a movie like Jurassic Park....well, you need some loud sound! :-)

 I always mix up lemonade and put it in the large, orange cooler. In the blue cooler I have ice water. I know that the lemonade mix has some sugar in it, but it's much less than soda plus it's a nice treat for the kids.

 I buy my popcorn supplies at Sam's Club. These paper bags are not expensive and they are a perfect size. Popcorn kernels can also be bought in 50 pound bags there. If you are a large family it's a great deal for a loved snack. In addition, you can grind them up in your wheat grinder to make corn meal.

 This is my popper that my sister bought as a family gift for us one Christmas. It really was a fantastic gift and we have used this popper a ton!  I have seen them online for a reasonable price.

 I always bath my youngest kids and get them in pajamas before guests arrive. They usually go to bed just about the time the movie starts or shortly after.

Guests bring chairs and blankets, and I always pull out my quilts and make pallets on the grass for the kids.

Another new item this year is the giant jenga game my husband built. We call it Danger Jenga.

It's not a game for the little ones, but the teens and the adults love it!

We start a movie just at dusk for the little kids, and it's usually an episode of Scooby-Doo.

Friends always arrive with snacks to share and extra blankets, and we always have a great time! The teens always have a great time too.
As a parent, I want my kids to enjoy themselves and socialize with their friends but I also want it to be in a safe and family friendly environment. I always told myself that when we had teens we would be the house where they could hang out with friends and that is what we accomplish with movie nights.
In fact it has turned into a  fun night for the entire family and our friends. It's also more relaxing than going to a regular theater because the little kids can run around and catch lightening bugs, which happens to me Zeb's favorite activity!

This past Friday we let a friend (a teen) pick out the movie and so we watched "Batman Begins." It was fantastic! On the list of other movies to watch this summer are the rest of the Bourne Trilogy movies, The Princess Bride, the Three Stooges,  and perhaps Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

So far the summer has been fabulous and the movies nights with friends and family have been outstanding!
What activities does your family like to enjoy together?


Only a couple more days left to vote! Circle of Moms Top 25 Mom of Teens has been a contest I have been honored to participate. Please hop over and give me a vote!


I have to share a recipe real quickly that I made tonight. It uses up some of that zucchini that is growing by the pounds this time of year!

These are Zucchini Tots. I found it on Pinterest and just decided to give them a try. They were really easy and delicious. Here is the recipe.


Finally, I had a reader email me a link to his latest article which is about attachment parenting. He included a link to my last blog post in the sidebar. Check it out! I am actually in an article which includes the beautiful Angelina Jolie! How cool is that:-)


Wednesday we talk about a four letter word! See you then!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Dr. Sears and Dr. Fuhrman

I wasn't going to voice my opinion, but I just can't help myself:-)
Who was shocked by the recent TIME magazine cover? I was shocked, and I practice attachment parenting and extended breastfeeding. I have yet to decide if TIME magazine used that photo as a shock factor or to divide mothers and women.
At any rate, Dr. Sears has always been a person who offers great insight into the practice of attachment parenting. I know some of you will roll your eyes at the mere thought of having a baby hanging on you and sleeping in your bed past a few weeks. (So why did you you have kids, anyway?)
After having seven "attached" kids, I can promise you that it is worth it! Looking back I can also say that it was time well spent and truly a short length of time when compared to mine and my child's entire life span.

                       *Indiana, 2 years old*

I have noticed too as the children grow that they mimic many of my actions and behaviors, for better or worse. I think at some point all of my children "nursed" a doll or stuffed animal. How wonderful that they are learning  a natural way to care and nourish "babies."

     * Me and Indiana (15 months)

Children who are raised with attachment parenting grow up have lots of self confidence, and it also instills compassion and nurturing skills within them.

    *Quinn (4 yrs), Devin, Me with a sleeping Indiana (2), and Journee (6) .

If you are still carrying your baby around in the car seat then I must absolutely exclaim that not only are you creating more work for yourself, but your child is missing out on tons of stimulation and learning and comforting! Do yourself and your baby a favor and invest in a sling! There are many on the market, and although it might take a little time to adjust, it's well worth it! Also, don't believe the lie that babies past 6 months old are too big for attachment carriers, as most will hold toddlers up to 25 pounds!

All of this is to say that Dr. Sears wrote a statement about the TIME piece and I thought someone might like to read it. Hey, he's fabulous and he's has done so much for attachment parents like myself.


Now let's move on to Dr. Joel Fuhrman.
In case you need an introduction, Dr. Fuhrman is a doctor and author and his books are fantastic. The two books I have and really like are "Eat To Live" and "Disease Proof Your Child."

His main focus is on a  healthy, raw based diet that has very little meat or dairy. He's a health freak and that's cool. I have always liked him because what he preaches is very true and he has patients who can verify that his methods work and make people healthy.

Here's where I get slightly peeved. There has been a ban in New York City of trans fats and salt. You can't get them when you eat out, but now the Mayor is banning large sugary drinks. When will it stop? Where is the line drawn?
Sadly, Dr. Fuhrman is all for the sugary drink ban and has the audacity to suggest maybe a dairy drink ban (such as milkshakes or coffee that contains lots of cream)!

As an American I find this "nanny state" type of attitude condescending and insulting. Last I checked it was still a free country and what I choose to put in my body is my choice. I know Fuhrman has an issue with milk, but has he considered that raw milk is much healthier? Why not use his energy to help combat the heavy FDA and Big Ag regulations so that local farmers and producers can provide healthy, local foods to their neighbors. Perhaps he could help Big Brother lift the ridiculous ban on selling raw milk, oh wait! Big Gov doesn't think we can make those types of food decisions on our own, hence the nanny state.

Dr. Fuhrman loves to brag that he has never consumed an entire soda! I say "big whoop!"

I wish he and all of the other totalitarian freaks in New York and elsewhere would crack open a history book and consider all of the sacrifices made so that we have the freedoms to choose to live in pursuit of happiness. Eventually, people must also take responsibility for their own actions. It is not the role of government to decide what we eat and do not eat.

Needless to say, Dr. Fuhrman dropped to the bottom of my list of people I think are worth listening to for dietary advice. His job is to present the advice and encourage others to make a decision on their own, not to force his beliefs on others.


Tonight is movie night here at My Barefoot Farm.
I let the teenagers pick the movie, so we will sprawl out in lawn chairs and watch "Batman Begins."

I will happily pop some popcorn (New York wants to ban the sizes of popcorn containers at movies too), make some lemonade and sit back and enjoy the summer evening with family and friends.
The teens love these movie nights and we love to provide a fun and safe environment for them to hang out and socialize.

Speaking of teens.....
I am still hanging on to the number 2 spot on Circle of Moms Top Mom of Teens contest. Will you please jump over there and give me a vote?
While you are there, give vote for Baker's Dozen. She is in the top spot and I would like to see her stay there. I have been following her for a few years and hands down she is a great mom.
In fact, if your teens like the Hunger Games books you should read about the Hunger Game Party her teens threw! Looks like it was a fun time.

Monday I will blog with no ranting! :-)
Have a great weekend!

   * My oldest, Journee (16) and my youngest, Fletcher (21 months)....both raised attached, both happy, both confident and both are loving siblings!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Wrap Up

Tomorrow is my Willow's birthday celebration! We are going to have family over to cook out and swim. She actually turns 10 on the 22nd!

Here is  wrap up from this very busy week!

Canning officially began this week with a batch of 21 quarts of kraut! Here's what I did, packed shredded cabbage tightly into jars. Add 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp white vinegar to each jar and fill up with boiling water. Place lids on but only put bands on very loosely. Place the jars in warm spot , out of sunlight. It should be ready in 2-3 weeks. I placed my jars under my pool deck outside and covered them with an old brown sheet.

Indiana helped me make Willow's birthday cake. She wanted a mermaid cake so Indiana made a tail from fruit roll ups. She also pressed gum drops flat and cut them to look like sea stars. Who's the cake boss????

 The baby roasters are out on pasture now. The pen is 5x12 and has a wooden door on one end so I can give them fresh food and water 2x a day. They also have a tarp over the back third so they have a safe place to sleep and get away from the rain. The love it outside.
There is a rope in front so that they are moved to a fresh piece of grass each morning.

                                                         This teen loves her dog!!!!

                                                      She also loves this horse!!!!

There are now three mama birds walking around with rather large clutches of chicks.

These two little boys want to be outside all day, and if they can pet chickens all day...even better!

There are several waters for the hens, but they prefer the horse's water trough.

I still need votes on Circle of Moms Top 25 Mom of Teens!!! Thank you soooo much!!!!!

Have a great weekend!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The High Cost of Cheap Chicken

**This post will discuss pasture raised and commercially raised chicken with some detail. If you are super squeemish, I apologize. You might want to stop and protect your mind from the truth! If you are a pro-active supporter of local, free market economy and sustainable farming practices AND healthy food then read on! **

So you want to make the change over to fresh, local raised chicken. You want to feed your family food sans the antibiotics, growth hormones, chemicals, and other drugs while supporting the local economy. You make the decision that you will no longer settle for the mushy, flavorless trash chicken sold in the grocery store. After hours of searching, you locate a local farmer who raises chicken out in the fresh air and on clean, green grass. Fabulous! You are excited and ready to make this transition only to discover that the single chicken costs anywhere from $15-$30! Is this the correct price? It's only a chicken, after all. You can go buy one at the store for half the price or less! What is the story behind that price tag?

Many people find themselves in the dilemma similar to the above when they decide to make a switch locally grown food such as chicken. The commercial food industry has brainwashed us into thinking that cheap food is as good as any other and to expect low prices. I will tell you that the high price on the locally raised chicken will cost you less in the long run versus the cheap, commercial chicken available at the grocery store.

Let's start with what you get when you pay $6- $10 for the 3-4 pound grocery store whole chicken. You are buying food for your family and this food started out in a cramped, commercial growing house along with thousands of other chickens. The facility is so crowded, in fact, that the air is full of chicken waste and dust. The chicken spent its entire life in this facility, never experiencing what a chicken is naturally born to do which is live outside in fresh air. The stress and threat of disease on the chicken is so intense within the facility that drugs and chemicals had to be placed in the feed to help it survive its short life in confinement.
The grower had no emotional attachment to the chicken either as it was just another bird amongst the thousands, therefore it's total well being was never a consideration.

                      ***Chickens are healthiest and happiest outside in fresh air!***

After the chicken grew to its desired size, with the help of growth hormones, it was crammed again into a small crate with lots of other chickens to be placed on back of a truck and driven many miles away to be processed. The cramped conditions of the cages often results in more than several bird deaths on the drive to the processing plant. Once at the plant, the chickens are hung up, electrocuted and mechanically killed and eviscerated. The evisceration process is sometimes so brutal that the intestines are cut, resulting in a fair amount of fecal matter splattered everywhere. Don't worry though, after the entire bird is processed it will be placed into several water baths made up of cold water and chlorine. The bath water usually does have fecal waste at the bottom of the tank, but rest assured that the water and chlorine soak up into the chicken meat to help kill the germs. After proper cooling the chicken is finished, wrapped and shipped to your grocery store where you can purchase it for your family meals at a bargain price.

What do you get when you buy a $15-$30 pasture-raised bird from a local farmer? First you get a chicken that was raised in a brood box by a farmer who gives the chicks space and is gentle in handling them. The farmer also changes bedding often and because the number of birds is quite low, he can monitor and watch for any chicks that might seem ill or might not be getting enough food.

After a couple of weeks in a brooder, the chickens are moved outdoors into a roomy cage that is open to fresh air and sunshine. There is also a covered area for the chicken to sleep under at night so they are safe from rain and predators. Everyday the chickens are moved onto a fresh area of grass so that they can live like chickens by scratching around and eating grass and bugs. The farmer also supplies fresh water and grain each day so that they have plenty of nutrients in their diet. Because of the fresh grass and sunshine the chickens are healthy and do not require drugs or chemicals, and the manure left behind by the chickens fertilizes the pasture so that it can remain healthy and vigorous as well.

When it is time for processing the chickens are not shipped to a plant in cages but rather simply carried by the farmer, in his arms and in a calm manner. There is no electrocution, but rather a slit of the carotid arteries so that the chickens simply pass out and sleep until they are bled out. The evisceration is done by hand and carefully so that nothing is contaminated and nothing is wasted. The chickens are cooled in a clean tank with ice water and wrapped and finished by hand. The entire process is completed humanely and  with total respect to the living animal that was sacrificed to feed local families.

The final contribution to the local chicken is that the farmer has not only supplied your family with clean, healthy food but has most likely supplied his own family with the same nourishment. Local farmers who raise pastured poultry do it so they can make a living and feed their families. Your purchase stayed within the local community and is supplying a farmer with an income so that he may continue to provide the service of raising pastured chicken. While people might cringe at the higher cost for local food it is important to understand that a small grower spends more money, time, and labor raising the food. Buyers also save money by maintaining a healthier diet on pasture raised chicken versus the commercial chicken which contains fewer nutrients, unhealthy fats, and harmful drugs and chemicals.

Buying local, pasture raised chicken supports local economy and supports sustainable farming practices.It also creates a buyer-consumer relationship! Where else can you visit the location where your food was raised and speak to the grower face to face? It's a satisfying feeling to know who you buy from your food from and exactly how it was grown, and local farmers appreciate the relationship as well.

Later this week I will post pictures of my birds and their outdoor pens, along with details on how we built them!

******* Thanks for all of the votes! Please vote again, voting ends on the 20th and you can vote once a day!**********

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Why My Teens Do Not Date

                                  *My sixteen year old, Journee*

It's a controversial subject, that is for sure. Teens and dating are common place in today's society. It's a right of passage, a step towards adulthood, an important part of growing up and socializing, right?
Or maybe not.

When I tell people outside my most immediate social circle that we do not allow dating, I get strange looks and sometime a challenge to our way of parenting.
I have been told that not allowing the kids date undermines their self confidence, robs them of the socialization process, neglects their ability to experience life and that they are going to date anyway....behind my back.

I suppose there are some teens who sneak out of the house and disobey their parent's rules about dating, but I suspect those families have disciplinary issues that are far beyond the house rule of no dating.
I can honestly say that my teens know that they will not be dating and they are OK with it. They understand the reasons why and they are not sneaking out of the house at night. The rules have been consistent and started when they were very young. Boyfriends and girlfriends and those little relationships that 5 year olds strike up have never been allowed. It's not cute. It's not age appropriate, and it sets the stage of the thinking that boys and girls cannot be friends but should be  a couple.

Here is the general rule in a nutshell and the reason for it:
We date primarily so that we can find the type of person we might wish to marry.
We marry so that we can raise a family, have children.
If you are not ready to have children then you are not ready to marry. If you are not ready to marry, then there is no reason to date.

It's that simple. There are no ways around it with group dates, etc. Having friends with the same beliefs makes it even better. It's normal and accepted. It is also gaining in trend, especially among home school families.

To the people who have accepted dating as a right of passage for all teens, I usually must chime in with more details. Perhaps their kids would never accept this simple rule because "everyone at school is dating!"
This alone should show a parent how strong peer pressure can be for their teens, and yet parents are still blindly accepting the lie that teens should be allowed to date, and the magic age seems to be 16.

1. Dating requires maturity. It is an important stage in life, but it comes with hormones and emotions and decisions that are constantly being brought to the surface. Teens are not equipped. I don't care how mature they are or how good they are in school, they are not mature enough to handle these situations like an adult. Yes, I know there are people who met in high school and are still together after 20+ years, but they are the exception.

2. Dating as a teen does not help as far as picking a future spouse. In fact, dating as a teen only reinforces the idea of if it doesn't work out, break it off. There is a lot of drama amongst teens who date because of the breaking up and getting back together scenarios that occur. You do not have to be a genius to see that this is not improving relationships or marriages later in life. The extremely high divorce rate in the country is proof!

3. Teens who date tend to allow dating to impede other activities in their lives that are far more important for their age. Education is one such activity that tends to get the short end of the stick. Many people like to argue that dating was  a large part of their high school years and many of their memories were made by dating. My response is, "Exactly!!!"  Call me old fashioned, but education and life skills  and work ethic are far more important for a teen than a boyfriend/ girlfriend.

4. There are laws that limit who can drive, vote and drink. Sure a teen can drive, but they cannot vote or drink alcohol. A romantic relationship can have just a drastic effect on a teen's young life, and yet parents allow it freely as if it were a human right. I say no! Dating is an adult activity because it can have very adult consequences. I happen to also think my daughters are extremely precious blessings that have been given to me to raise and care for. I refuse to allow them to waste their important teen years battling the turmoil and roller coaster drama that accompanies teen dating. When they are ready to date, they will be ready and mature and confident in their choices. Until that time, they have friends that are boys and girls. They are truly friends, with no pressures of "relationships."
                             *My niece and my daughter Quinn, both 14. Always having fun(without boyfriends)*

A friend stated that her husband told one of their teen boys that they couldn't date until they could offer a girl something more than just his good looks and charms.

I agree. I agree because I want more than just good looks and charm for my daughters and I also want my sons to provide more as well.

It's really simple.

**** I was honored to be nominated in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Mom of Teens! I would love it if you would hop over there and give me a vote. You can vote once a day and voting ends June 20th! Thanks!


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