Between Generations

Things have changed so dramatically in the last 25 years. . .

We used to be able to leave our elementary school aged children home by themselves for a few hours before or after school without having to worry that CPS would be called because we were “neglecting them.”

Our children used to be able to walk or ride their bikes a half a mile or mile away to the school playground and play by themselves unsupervised without us having to worry that CPS would be called because again we were “neglecting them.”

We used to be able to choose whether or not to take our child to the doctor for an illness or use what home remedies our parents used for generations without having to worry someone might call CPS because we were not “providing appropriate” medical care for our children.

We used to be able to spank our children when they did something wrong, or have them sit in the bathroom with a bar or soap in their mouths, or have them stand in the corner without having to worry about someone calling CPS because we are “abusing” our child.

Isn’t leaving children home for short periods of time, or letting them play at a nearby park unsupervised fostering independence and building character?  I have lots of fond memories of  many hours of park play unsupervised and I don’t think I am any worse for ware.  We worry about safety.  That someone might snatch our child from the park, but could me not prevent that by sending them in groups? Was it really “safer” 25 years ago? We have brilliant technology nowadays and our children have cell phones so we can find out where they are in seconds. . . we can put GPS trackers in our children’s shoes and watches and track where they are on our computers.  We have surveillance camera’s virtually everywhere.  In fact I just noticed some at a park around the corner from my parents house where I used to play as a child.  So why can’t we let our children play without us?

I rarely remember going to the doctor as a child.  When we were ill we got to be sick and miserable on the couch or in bed with Mom checking on us to make sure we weren’t too bad off, until the bug passed.  If it stuck around too long, then we made the trek to the doctor (but this was rare).  No one said this was wrong.  No one said this was neglectful.  It’s just the way it was.  Doctors can’t cure a cold, they can give you ways to treat the symptoms, but as long as you don’t have a dangerously high fever shouldn’t you  be able to just treat the symptoms at home, naturally (like people have done for thousands of years before the invention of modern medicine?) without having to worry that someone will tell you you are abusing your child and threaten to take them away?

We used to be able to discipline our children as we saw fit.  Children were smacked on the bottom and hands.  They were made to sit and stand in corners.  They were made to sit in “time-out”.  Sitting in the bathroom with a bar of soap in your mouth for cursing was not an uncommon practice.  I remember getting smacked on the butt, smacked on the hand with a wooden spoon, sitting in timeout, sitting in my room, being grounded and sitting in the bathroom with a bar of soap in my mouth.  And do you know what?  I think I turned out okay.  So why is it that if I use the same types of punishments today that my parents’ used on me as a child that there is a chance someone might report that as abuse?  (Disclaimer: There is a difference between hitting and beating.  I am not in anyway advocating hitting or beating your child.  I will tell you though if my child is about to touch a hot stove I am not above smacking their hand to stop them from burning themselves. I do not advocate repeatedly hitting your child with your hand, belt or other object to me that is beating and it means there is more wrong with you than the child, but that’s another blog post and some therapy. . .)

When did our society become so soft?  How do we keep it from becoming softer? How do we teach our children independence if we can’t let them roam?  How can we teach them right and wrong if our list of consequences for them is extremely limited. Why do we now have to take our children to the doctor for every little minor illness? When did it become okay that the government seems to want to take our rights as parents away? Because the government’s track record of raising “wholesome well-adjusted kids” they have taken from their parents is gleamingly spotless, right?  Why is it the ways of our childhood are no longer the “right” ways? How do we change and get things back to a simpler way?

What do you think?

Three Ingredient Chicken Taco’s

Everyone loves an easy meal.  One of my favorite’s is 3 ingredient chicken taco’s in the crock pot.  It’s easy, doesn’t require much in the amount of prep time, delicious and you can have enough for 2 simple dinners.

3 Ingredient Chicken Taco’s
4 chicken breasts
1/2 a jar of your favorite salsa (at least a cup)
1 package of taco seasoning (or 1 batch of homemade taco seasoning)

Cook on low for 8 hours (or all day while you’re gone at work).  By the time it’s done cooking, the chicken is so tender it shreds as you mix it up.  Heat up some rice and beans, and add your favorite toppings for yummy chicken taco’s.

Night Two, I made quesadilla’s with the leftover chicken and black beans.  I food processed the leftover black beans to make refried black beans, shredded cheese and added leftover chicken to tortilla’s, heated them in a skillet and had a second simple, delicious and easy meal in just a few minutes.

quesadilla's

Maddy’s Annual Children’s Book Drive- An Update

Remember me posting a while back about Maddy’s Annual Children’s book drive? (If you missed it you can catch up it HERE )

Thanks to the wonderful people who donated, the goal of collecting 3,000 books was surpassed!!!  Over 3,200 books were donated to this great cause that brings books into the hands of children!  The drop off books to the charities began yesterday.

A big shout out and THANK YOU to everyone who participated in this, and if you missed out, don’t worry, you can save up your books for next year!

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The Complicated Truth about Children and Drowning

Not Keeping Up with the Joneses- If you’re Broke, do something about it!

I’ve recently witness a few situations which leave me a little flabbergasted.

Case Number One: The case of too much house.

We recently had some friends we know move into a bigger house.  It wasn’t unreasonable for them to want to move.  Their family had rapidly expanded and they felt they needed the space to accommodate the expansion of family.  They sold their old house and moved into the new house. It was only when tax time came around that they realized they might be in over their heads.  The housing market in our area right now is booming and most houses have gone up considerably in value.  The rise in home values is great, but it also comes a bigger tax bill.  These friends do not have an emergency fund in place and when they were hit with the increased tax bill discovered that they were drowning in a lack of funds.  Despite this money problems the friends have not seemed to change their lifestyle to accommodate for the problem.   They don’t seem to have cut down on extra curricular activities or outings and they haven’t picked up an extra job that we know about.  They continue mini vacations and shopping sprees, and then vent about how stressed they feel.  I think “trapped” is one of the words that was used.

Case Number Two: We’re financially strapped considering a move and career change.

In one of the groups I’m in a lady posted about moving to Texas from her current location.  She lives in California and would like to be closer to some family.  Her husband has a good job at which he makes $100.000 /year.  She said that between their mortgage, two car payments and medical bills it’s hard to make ends meet, because California is just expensive.  Her husband is older and doesn’t want to move unless he can get a job paying the same amount.  I don’t blame him, in fact I totally agree with him.  What I don’t understand is, if you can barely make ends meet how are you going to finance a trip to Texas to check things out?

It wasn’t too terribly long ago that I could have been one of these two people.  It seems like forever ago and yesterday that I felt like I was drowning in debt and would never live life without a payment plan.  Let me tell you a secret. . .The truth is you don’t have to be one of these people and if you are one of these people you can change your situation.  My journey started by reading The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey.  I will never forget reading about people who felt “sick and tired of feeling sick and tired”.  This resonated with me.  Thinking about finances and paying bills had been sucking the life out of me and I didn’t want to live that way any longer.  I shared the book with my husband and got us started on our own money make over.

I will warn you, it’s not easy and there are times that we falter and don’t stick exactly to our budget.  There are times when I feel like we don’t make progress with our debt because mayhem happens and we have to cash flow something instead of attaching our debt.  (But even being able to cash flow unexpected things like a $1000+ car repair bill wouldn’t have been possible without this plan). When I look at our progress over the past year (and really we didn’t even hit the plan hard until January) and see that we are almost to the half way mark (meaning half of our debt is GONE!) I get a little fluttery.  I feel so much more relaxed.  I actually enjoy life more knowing that I can and will be debt free soon.  I no longer stress and obsess over money like I did for so many years.  And recently a friend commented on how relaxed I seemed, and I shared what I was doing with her.  I feel blessed and you can too!  You can change your spending habits.  You can make a budget (Dave Ramsey makes it easy with his FREE budgeting tool http://everydollar.com) You can pay down your debt and become debt free.  You just have to take the first step!

Real Life Heroes

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My some what crazy, funny and dedicated friend Bill is currently participating in a 500K (314 mile) race across Tennessee (Check out their facebook page here) to raise awareness for water safety for a group called Colin’s Hope.  A few years ago Bill lost his own precious daughter, Maddy to drowning. (Remember Maddy’s Book Drive?)  Bill is an amazing person. The strength and drive he possess is both admirable and inspiring and I am proud to be able to call him a friend.  He is a real life hero to me.

Bill started  his 314 mile race on July 10 and 7 hours ago he hit the 250 mile mark. Can you imagine walking 250 miles in 7 days?  I don’t know about you but it blows my mind.  All of Bill’s friend check his facebook page daily for updates about the race.  His Father, who is his pit crew, keeps us updated with wonderful tales of what has been going on with Bill and the race.  (I absolutely adore reading every word he writes.)  The road Bill is currently on has not been without it’s challenges he faces the Tennessee heat daily, swelling in his feet and legs, blisters, being chased by dogs and keeping ahead of “Oprah” (the cut off pace for the race).

I would like to take this moment to send a shout out to Bill and tell him how incredible awesome he is!  Everyone send Bill love and prayers on the last leg of his journey in this race!  And Check out his PLEDGE PAGE at COLIN’S HOPE where you can donate money to Colin’s Hope to raise awareness about drowning. Way to go Bill!  You Rock!  You got this!