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Save Money On Groceries By Re-Growing Food From Kitchen Scraps

A Fun Guest Post by Alex Goodwin

I have not tried all of Alex’s suggestions here, so I can’t vouch for them, but I certainly will try them. Ginger is the one I’ve done – what a beautiful edible plant. Also, when I was a kid we used to sprout avocado trees from the pits by hanging half of the pit in a cup of water by suspending it from a trio of toothpicks jammed into the sides of the pit. But avocado trees get enormous and you better live where it doesn’t freeze if you want to grow one. Here’s Alex Goodwin for y’all folks.

Save Money On Groceries By Re-Growing Food From Kitchen Scraps

If you’re anything like me and my wife when it comes to looking for ways to save money and lower our bills, you’ll be happy to discover that one of the easiest and really fun methods of doing this has been lurking in your very own kitchen!

After we purchase, prepare, and consume the food we buy, there are almost always little bits of food left that just get thrown away. Why do we do that? Some of these scraps of food can actually serve another function. They can be replanted and grown again.

While it isn’t possible to do it with everything we consume, most vegetables and some fruits do have the capacity to regrow themselves from replanted scraps. Let’s take a look at some of the common foods you might have in your home that you can start with now.

Onions

Onions are the easiest of vegetables to regrow because they have the highest success rate and only require a little bit of work to replant. First, cut off any part of the onion that remains about the roots except for maybe a half inch. Then, plant the roots in a sunny area in a raised bed garden so that they will have plenty of sunlight.

Pineapples

Pineapples are a fun food to grow because they are so delicious! You need to start by taking the green, leafy area that is located at the top of the pineapple. Make sure that all pieces of actual fruit have been removed. It’s necessary that all of the fruit is removed to keep it from rotting and killing your plant. This only leaves the part of the pineapple that nobody eats anyways.

When you first plant them in your garden, you should water them regularly. After a few weeks you can cut back to watering your pineapples just once a week. A few months later you will begin to see growth. It may take up to a couple years before you can actually eat the pineapples, but you will have a permanent plant that will continually bear fruit every season.

Garlic

Garlic is also another type of plant that can be easily regrown from scraps. This can be done by planting a single clove root-down into the soil. At first, it will grow new shoots, which you will want to cut off. After they have been cut, the garlic will put all its energy into producing a new bulb, recreating the original garlic plant that was consumed.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are capable of re-growing their eye-shoots, which allow for more potatoes to grow off of them. This can be done by planting either a whole, or even just a little piece, of a  sweet potato in a jar of water. After a week, new shoots should have sprouted out by now. Remove the side sprouts and leave the shoots forming near the top of the potato.

Ginger

Ginger isn’t as commonly used, but it can also be regrow from just a food scrap. Take a piece of ginger rhizome — the part of the plant you cook with — and have the newly sprouted bud areas facing towards the surface. Ginger likes stay out of direct contact with sunlight but still be able to reach it. You should also keep the area around your ginger moist. The plant will sprout a whole new set of roots and shoots, which then will begin growing duplicates of the plant. When harvesting, pull the whole plant out of the ground and cut off more pieces of rhizome. Use what you need and then place the rest back into the ground so that you can repeat the process.

Other tips and considerations

Many of the food you can re-grow from kitchens scraps do not require a lot of space and can be grown indoors with mason jars if you don’t have the space for a traditional garden. Large planting pots are good for high-rise balconies because they are less likely to blow over and they require less water. To add style and an extra touch of sustainability, you can try using bio-degradable planting pots that are been constructed from renewable plant by-products.

About the author:

Alex is a blogger, husband, father and aspiring slipstream fantasy novelist. When he isn’t writing for HomeDaddys or completing chores from his “honey- do” list, he’s most likely spending quality time with his wife and kids or working on his novel.

 

10 Day no cell phone check update

Day 1

Well, I made the apparent mistake of emailing my local homeschool yahoo groups and my neighbors the night before Day 1, offering them a piece of my sourdough starter. I had only expected 4 or 5 responses, but the emails started pouring in instantly, requesting the starter – 33 in all. So day 1 got kind of goofed up. I had to respond to them and let them know that it will take months for me to give them all a piece. So even though I had a little date with my email on Day 1, I managed to not check www.drudgereport.com for news. Not even once. The urge to pick up my phone was enormous all day, however. Here’s hoping I can actually go tomorrow without any email.

Day 2

Much better today. I figured out I could check emails while taking care of my, ahem, business, so I got a check in during the a.m. Otherwise, who needs a stinkin’ cell phone? I LOVE not checking Drudge report every 2 hours, but I fear becoming a low-information voter, one of the ostrich masses with my head in the dirt, blissfully singing preschool songs and making art, all while our guns are being confiscated and our country run by the UN. I guess in the end I’ll still know well enough to vote Libertarian, so no loss. I did find that I had 50 emails awaiting me after the kids went to bed, so here I am. I just checked them, I’m writing this, and I do not have the energy to read any of the links or to respond. Hmmm.

Days 3-10

A royal failure. What really did me in was needing to check email to communicate with people coming over to pick up sourdough starter. I had to stay by my phone all day every day. I did become much more sensitive to not “missing my childrens’ childhoods.” Just that little bit of consciousness sure goes a long way. I’m taking a much needed break from current events and it’s lovely.

Also, my friends apparently had read my post and figured that I wouldn’t be checking my phone, so they started texting my husband telling him to tell me things. Pretty funny.

As soon as this sourdough craziness is over, I’m going to make another 10 day gallant attempt to check my cellphone once a day before bed. Honestly though, you can have more communication than that and not sacrifice any childhoods. Even Rachel agrees. Right now the neighbor kids are over, so my kids are totally engaged and I have a minute to get my “screen time” in. Trying to break the addiction does prove to be a doozy. I highly recommend it.

Teach Your Kids History, Say “no” to screens, and voila…

I am amazed every time I say “no” to screens. The kids come up with something to do. They get an hour of screen time every day. And even that almost sickens me when I do the math. If they spent 365 hours a year doing anything skill building, they’d almost be a master. Screens have nothing to show for the time spent.

Anyway, earlier today when I said “no – you’ve had your screen  time,” the boys proceeded to find a plastic pipe about 12 feet long and drop all kinds of things through it. It’s physics, it’s psychology, it’s cause and effect.

The Battle of the Crater

Battle of the Crater

Battle of the Crater

A couple of months ago, my mother and I taught my seven year old about the Battle of the Crater. It was a Civil War battle that was fought on my ancestors’ land in Virginia. It’s a great story. My great great grandfather, Jesse Bignal Payne, was only 11 years old when General Beauregard’s men came and told the family they had to leave because a battle was about to ensue on their property. The family took sacks of peas and headed to Colorado. The tactic of blowing a huge crater backfired on the Union and they lost the battle miserably. You can still see the crater today.

I was just washing dishes after having told the boys “no” to screens. It takes will power, you know? They got out their beyblades, which are basically tops on speed that battle one another. From the other room I hear the yelling – “Battle of the Crater! Battle of the Crater!” They were battling the tops in a trash can lid.

Happy happy moments of homeschool mothering. I know I’ve done something right, wait, several things right, when my children are playing Battle of the Crater.

As an aside, one of my Waldorf method homeschool friend moms told me recently that about a year ago she nixed screens altogether. In about a week she never heard the “may I play or watch” this or that again. Kids will find something to do. And if it doesn’t involve a screen, it most likely is enriching their lives.

Cleaning with Kombucha Vinegar

The cleanest my floors have ever been

Tea Tree Oil and Kombucha Vinegar

Tea Tree Oil and Kombucha Vinegar

They feel totally different under my bare feet. Squeaky squeaky clean. Wow. 48 hours later, wow.

I was ready to mop and didn’t realize that I’d run out of vinegar. I had heard that if your kombucha had ever gotten too ripe and had turned to vinegar, that you could use it to clean your house or anything else you would clean with vinegar. So months ago, when a batch had gotten too far gone, I put it away and kept it. Day before yesterday I bravely gave it a try – about two dark brown cups of super old, scary kombucha to half a bucket of water. I also added 20 drops of tea tree oil, one of my favorite essential oils, to help disinfect and add fragrance.

The results are unbelievable.

This makes me want my kombucha to get a little too ripe. I’m excited. Wow is all I have to say.

Funny thing is, 30 minutes later I found my gallon of commercial white vinegar. It had gotten put away in the wrong place. I am so grateful for these serendipitous times in life. Wow. I won’t be going back.

The 10 Day no cell phone check challenge

no phone 2My latest massive inspiration comes from a blog called Hands Free Mama. A couple of years ago, Rachel took it upon herself to not be attached to her phone. She has written a couple of very inspiring and self-exposing posts about how to miss a childhood or about the day she stopped saying ‘Hurry Up’You can easily miss a childhood by being a slave to your phone or by constantly being “in a hurry”. They will only be little once, and for a very short time.

Just after I read her article, I went in to be with my 3 year old. He wanted to put raisins on the bed and pretend to be a chicken eating them by pecking them up with his “beak.” I helped him spread the fruit out on the sheet and just after he started to peck them up and grin at me after each raisin, I felt the urge to reach for my phone to check. In that instant, I realized that I too, most definitely have the screen and news addiction that I so long for my children to refrain from. Uggh. Yuck. I check my phone God knows how many times a day. And who needs to check in on current events more than once a day? Really.

For the next ten days, I vow to check my phone only once – after the children have gone to bed

Will I miss something? Yes. Will it  matter? Probably not. I’ll have the phone on for if it rings or if I get a text. I honestly don’t receive too many calls or texts in a day, and when I do, it usually is of some importance.  If I hear the email alert, I will ignore it. I don’t really facebook, but I do check Twitter from time to time, so this too will I slough off. No checking Twitter until after bedtime. This goes for in the car as well. If I’m checking emails or texting at red lights, what is that saying to my children? We could be having conversation, and enjoying this time together, but I’d rather check in with my addiction. Also, they will remember what I do when it conflicts with what I say. When they are teenagers out there driving, I really hope they won’t be a slave to their handhelds. It also means I’m not going to be checking email or news on my computer when I’m home during the day either. So here I go. I’m hoping 10 days will turn into forever. I’ll let you know how it goes. First, I have to go tell my family. Anyone want to give it a try with me?

Natural Lemonade that’s good for you

A tasty treat the kids (and adults) will love

You don’t need no stinkin’ GMO high fructose corn syrup or sugar in your lemonade. GMOs, high fructose corn syrup and sugar, which are in almost all commercial lemonades, are bad for human consumption. This summertime treat can be made from lemon juice and maple syrup, which are very good for us, and kids love it! I made this yesterday for a passel of kids and several made the comment that it’s the best they’ve ever had.

This recipe is also the basis for the Master Cleanse which adds cayenne pepper and voila, if you’re willing to fast and drink this concoction, you’ll jump-start your liver, kidneys and any weight regimen you might want to follow this summer.

Natural Lemonade Recipe:

1 quart of purified water

3/4 cup of lemon juice (fresh squeezed is best)

1/4 cup of maple syrup (NOT PANCAKE SYRUP w/ high fructose corn syrup!!!)

You can play with the recipe a bit. If you like it sourer or sweeter, it’s up to you. You can also make a glass at a time by adding 2-3 table spoons of lemon juice and up to a table spoon of maple syrup and getting the right mix. Drinking this first thing in the morning is a great way to kick start and clean out your system. And it’s super yummy to boot.

 

Community for those with Disabilities, as for all of us, is part of Natural Living

It’s only natural to know our neighbors

But how many of us actually do? Those of us who make an effort to know our neighbors gain in untold ways.

My friends and neighbors sat around outside a few evenings ago making music. The children played fiddles, guitars, and drums along with us. One of our friends was moved to tears, saying how much it meant to him to see that people still do this. Community feeds our souls.

Community, for all of us, is part of natural living. We can’t escape it, nor should we. It’s part of the rich fabric of our lives. Community feeds us, teaches us, and makes us grow. This story is from yet another perspective when it comes to community.

Cerebral Palsy – my friend Stephanie, her life and her inspiration

My friend, Stephanie, really has no idea how inspiring she is. When I met her last year I was awestruck. This fabulous woman has gotten her degree, taking special transportation to her university, attended classes, and written papers, when mobility and verbal communication are both chores by any measure. She then made the decision to give living alone a go. Her mother, who had been her caregiver for nearly 40 years, needed to move into a care facility herself, and Stephanie had to make a decision. She had never lived on her own. For Stephanie, just walking and talking takes great effort – in my eyes. But in hers, it’s just how it is. Effort is her normal. When I’m around Stephanie and her positive attitude, I am so uplifted. Our lives are what we make them.

Stephanie is a writer who in the process of publishing her memoir and offered to write a guest post for www.betsydewey.com. I am honored to host her writing. She is not only an inspiration to those she meets, but to anyone living with a disability.

The Natural Beauty of Living in a Community

by Stephanie Torreno

When Betsy invited me to write a guest post, I thought about her umbrella of natural living and how the topic applies to my life. A perfect aspect of natural living to share with readers entered to mind.  This aspect involves how I came to know Betsy, and more specifically, how I came to know, love, and rely on her in-laws as family.

After moving to our townhome nine years ago, my mother and I became acquainted with our neighbors.  In a row of adjoining townhomes, getting to know one another becomes easy.  Still, with Betsy’s inlaws three units from ours, we didn’t meet them right away.  At least I didn’t.  I first met Jane at a holiday gathering next door.  As my mom and I met more of our community members, our mostly female neighbors began meeting for lunch.  Soon, the small group formed a birthday club, inviting two husbands to join in celebrating a neighbor’s birthday by going out to dinner and enjoying cake and ice cream afterward at someone’s home.  I don’t remember joining the first few celebrations as I thought my mom deserved some social time without me – her adult daughter with cerebral palsy.

Mom convinced me to join the birthday bunch.  While I enjoyed the time with all six neighbors, I felt a special connection to Jane and Adam.  Jane and I knew some of the same people through her work and my studies at a Christian university.  Adam and I liked talking and laughing together.  Most of all, Jane and Adam became great friends with me as a person first, while learning about my disabilities and understanding the difficulties I have and the help I need.

Life changes

Almost three years ago, my mom’s life changed following a stroke and subsequent setbacks.  My life changed, too.  Following two moves with Mom, and several heart-wrenching and complicated decisions, I chose to move back to our townhouse – alone.  I sought Jane and Adam’s approval before committing to my decision. I knew I required physical and emotional support, no matter how independent I tried to become, as I attempted to live by myself for the first time.  Jane and Adam supported my decision and welcomed me back with open arms and hearts.

Employed people with disabilities often receive “natural supports” at the workplace, such as job training from coworkers or ongoing mentoring from fellow employees.  Although I am not traditionally employed and write from home, I consider Jane and Adam my “natural supports” at home.  While I receive daily assistance from caregivers, Jane and Adam continue to show me the necessity and importance of community.  My wonderful neighbors, friends, and surrogate parents drive me to appointments, accompany me to medical visits, and provide assistance when I need it.  J-Mom and A-Dad, as I often call them, include me in worship activities and family gatherings, where I met and became friends with Betsy.  Betsy’s in-laws demonstrate the power of community to me each day.  This sense of community, for which I am grateful, seems only natural to me.  

Stephanie Torreno’s writing has recently been featured in the book OMG That Woman, available on Amazon.

You can also see her six-word-memoirs here.

 

 

Advice about parenting?

 A question from a friend:

Would you have a good recommendation for an early parenting book?
My husband and I differ a little but on our approach with our two-year-old and I think
we could use more consistency in our approach! Know what I mean?

After raising two through early parenting, I do not have a parenting book to recommend per se, but I have learned some things. Considering I don’t know if you’re talking about spanking, getting out of bed after bed time, pushing or hitting other kids, potty training, or the other myriad parenting questions out there, I’ll just have a go.

The first six years are the rudder for life. Be careful. Literally.

This is the time when you become who you are going to be. You will pattern after the models you have. Your brain sets up its grooves and becomes “hardwired” during this time. The most important thing in my opinion is feeling secure and knowing you are loved. To paraphrase Dr. Suzuki, – if we give our children the foundation of a pure heart and a noble mind, they will find happiness as adults, and this is more important than anything and should be our only real goal as parents.

Remain as relaxed as possible at all times. You can never physically love your children too much. Shower them with affection. Deeply knowing you are loved is the secret ingredient to a very happy and fulfilling life.

Children have their own special way of seeing things. We need to be patient and loving with them. Positive reinforcement is the only way to produce results. A good book about that is Don’t Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor.

There are books that I so appreciate having read while my children were young. They are not really “parenting” books, however. They are: Nurtured by Love by Shinichi Suzuki and You are Your Child’s First Teacher by Rahima Baldwin. They taught me that these first six years are such rich, fertile ground for setting the stage for life. Without any type of force, you can expose children to art, music, movement, and a gentle environment. Next to being loved, having a rich, gently stimulating environment is key to positive human development.

No one knows better than you how to raise your child.

People are just people. Seeking out advice is wise, but ultimately, no one knows better than you. There are folks out there who write books on the matter, but I never agree with them 100%. There is a blog that has shifted my parenting to even more relaxed, but I do not agree with it completely.

Punishment and reward

There is an idea floating around right now about parenting with no rewards or punishments, which I find absurd to say the least. Life is a series of rewards and punishments. Humans learn this way. Reward and punishment comes directly from nature. Just read Aesop’s The Ant and the Grasshopper if you disagree. Potty training is a great example of how far a chocolate chip will take a human being. I do not, however, believe in harsh punishments. Rewards are great. Minor punishments such as “the toy goes on top of the fridge for now” are great cards to play as well. I remember warning my three-year-old once that if he pushed another child, his halloween candy was going in the trash. Minutes later, we marched into the kitchen and dumped the candy. I for one, was happy to see it go (I think sugar and high fructose corn syrup are the devil. Well, GMO too) and the point was well made. We don’t push. I don’t recall him ever pushing again.

Time warnings go a long way

I’ll never forget the time when I proclaimed to my 3 year old, “Time to go.”  Sadness ensued, and the little girl he was playing with promptly informed me that I should have given him a warning. I knelt down, looked her in the eye, and said, “You are absolutely right. Thank you.” I have been the time warning queen ever since. No one wants to be suddenly ripped away from a good time. At the same time, when it’s time to go, it’s time to go. I know a couple of mothers whose children rule the roost. When it’s “time to go,” the children simply don’t. Who is in charge here?

Spanking?

Huge topic here. Theoretically, the idea of being violent with children turns my stomach. In practice, a little seems to go a very long way. A pop on the rear of a defiant child and child abuse are two different things with results a world apart. Also, again in my opinion, even the slightest spank to a child under two makes no sense at all. Humiliation, pain, or spanking as part of your parenting plan simply can not result in well-adjusted people who respect one another.

Risking the relationship

When a parent becomes violent, holier that thou, or unbendable, something pops up called risking the relationship. True. Your tough stance could lose the child forever. They could rebel against you and turn into the exact person you did not want them to be. That “friend” you wanted when they turn 25 might never call.

Being human, getting down on your knees and working with your child on life – this little person who is going to grow into a big one, is necessary. Apologizing, admitting when you are wrong, and not being perfect are all important things to model. You are not perfect, but you can be imperfect as gracefully as possible. Remember, they are the next generation, new and improved.

Tantrums and how to raise an adult that won’t continue to have them

When my three-year-old was having his first tantrum, I recognized instantly what it was. I went to the internet and searched tantrum. The advice was sound. Put the child in a space where he can’t hurt himself and let it play out. It will end. Then go in and calmly explain that he just had something called a tantrum and that’s not how this family communicates. If there is something he wants to talk about, we can talk about it now. If the tantrum happens outside the home, at a restaurant for instance, one parent has to excuse themselves from the dinner, take the child to the car, and sit with the child until the tantrum plays out. The parent explains that this is a tantrum. It’s not what we do. And now the child and the parent won’t get to participate in the lovely meal going on inside. The child doesn’t get what they wanted, just a sit in the car. My child never had a tantrum again. My second child had this experience twice in one week, and never again.

Letting a 2 or 3 year old get their tantrum out and letting a baby “cry it out” are totally different things.

Never let a baby “cry it out.”

I read a very popular parenting book that had this idea as its basis – always just let the baby cry itself to sleep. I was sick. I won’t even stoop low enough to mention the book’s name here. When you are 6 months old, you don’t know much and you don’t need much. You don’t know there’s a big world out there, you don’t know how to talk, you don’t know what instruments are, or transportation, or I could go on forever. This list is infinite. It’s infinite for adults too, by the way. All you know is that there are people in your life, that they come in and smile at you, and make you comfortable. This is your basis for everything. If someone shuts your door and the noise scares you, or the dark scares you, or that silly clown someone stuck in your bed scares you, or if you simply don’t want to be alone, you’re going to cry so that one of those smiley people out there will come get you or stay with you. If you cry and they never come, you are learning deep in your core that you can’t always count on the people you trust the most, and that you’re on your own.

Developing a strong sense that the world is a good place, that you can trust others, and that you have help in this world is an excellent foundation for happiness. There are many tricks to getting a child to sleep. But they have to be sleepy. I can’t imagine making a child lay in bed when he’s not tired. A great trick is telling them that they only have to lay down for 3 minutes. They have to be quiet and still. Start gently stroking their hair and counting in a whisper to 60 very slowly. I use this trick on my 3 year old at nap time every day. No matter how much he melts down before, he is always asleep by the first 60 seconds. One time I made it all the way to 3 minutes and he was wide awake. So he got to get up. He was definitely not going to fall asleep for a nap that day.

The balance between tough and tender

Ah, the yin and the yang. You must have both, grasshopper. I agree with the statement that children like to know their boundaries. I think we all do. If you ever give into a child’s tantrum, you are teaching the child that it’s okay to throw a tantrum and that it will actually get rewarded. After all, you are the parent now. You have to act like one. Raise your child to be kind and thoughtful. Practice staying calm. Set the example. But when toughness and strictness are called for, step up. Be consistent. Here is a lovely list of habits/virtues to instill in your children. Ha ha. Joke’s on us. I’ve been trying to instill these in myself. It is almost laughable.

Get out of the way

There are two situations when I try to remember to practice this gem. One is when the children are being creative. The other is when my feathers are ruffled. As long as no one is in danger, just step back and pretend you aren’t there. You are gone for the day, and this in front of you is what would be going on if you weren’t here. It’s usually pretty eye-opening. The world would definitely go on without you.

You are the parent

As immature as you may be, you are now beset with raising another human being to the best of your ability. After your child is 25, you can be “friends,” but right now, your child needs you to guide the way. Without civilized parenting, due to the human condition, if left to their own devices, the next generation would quickly regress to The Lord of the Flies. Pick your battles, breathe deeply, and do the best you can.

Parents must always be on the same team

If you and your partner are not in agreement, sit down and see which parenting style is fitting in with your big picture at the moment. Agree on the fundamentals of how you want to raise your child and then take the situation at hand and figure out whose idea best fits. You must come to an agreement though. You must always come to the table as a team. You must always support the other’s decisions, never undermining them. Without having a specific question, that is my advice. As far as books go – the one you write will be the best for you.

 

Verdict: Cure Tooth Decay Diet only works if you’re superhuman

The posts I’ve written chronicling our adventure with the Cure Tooth Decay Diet are some of the most popular on my site. So it’s time for me to check in again and let you all know the fate that befell us. The first one was 8 Cavities, 1 Petit Four and Some Fish Head Stew or Cure Your Own Tooth DecayThe second was Don’t call me crunchy – or Abracadabra, no more cavities! The third was Does the Cure Tooth Decay Diet work?

My 5 year old son shockingly had 8 cavities – in every molar. For three months we tried the Cure Tooth Decay diet. On the smallest two cavities it worked! They were almost gone when we went in for the checkup. Here is where we went all wrong. We gave up on the diet. We had been doing so well too. We just, well, I, Mom, fell off the wagon. We had been having bone broth soup, lots of mussels, sour dough bread, and were taking cod liver and skate liver oil. We had given up sugar, whole grains, and processed foods. It was working.

Since, we’ve spent about $3000 on my child’s fillings, root canal, pulling a tooth, and adding a spacer. The last of his fillings is scheduled for next month. In all honesty…

We should have just filled them from the get go

Especially the two big ones. I am not opposed to eating healthy. In fact, I love the idea. However, in reality, my family just doesn’t eat like natural foods super heros. We like candy. We stop for fast food once in a while. We like tortillas and crackers.

The diet left us better than it found us

I’m not a complete failure. I still make sourdough bread regularly. It’s the only bread we eat. We still drink raw milk. It’s the only milk we drink. I just wish I had known that we’d fall off the wagon and that if you have cavities and you’re just a normal, un-super human, you should probably get them filled and try to do better on your adult teeth.

It’s a great diet that makes sense. Go for it if you can. It only works as well as you do.

Minecraft anyone? An addiction on a platter perhaps?

I keep making the decision, over and over again that my 7 year old will not play the highly addictive video game, minecraft. Just startpage “minecraft addiction” to see why for yourself. We have one family in our lives who are video game free and I really appreciate that. Without them, we’d have no one to pattern after, and I’d be out here on this limb of consciousness all alone. Every single one of my son’s other friends talks about minecraft ceaselessly. I’ve asked the moms, “If you could go back and say no to minecraft, would you?” They have all told me that they would have. Once your kid has the jones for it, there’s really no taking it away. The only adversity coming my way on this particular decision is from my son.

My son gets to play some video games now and then, stuff that’s pretty benign like RC mini racers or Jewels. He gets an hour of screen time a day and if he wants to play video games, so be it. As a “natural” mama, some of you may wonder why I allow video games at all, or sugar, or tv – well, it all comes down to the forbidden fruit factor. My children are being raised in the USA after all. I believe that allowing them to experience some of the apple pie that makes America America is probably a good idea. I don’t believe in creating the forbidden fruit or in depriving my children. Far from it. This addictive video game thing, however, is certainly a battle I choose to pick. When I told one of my mom friends that he was asking every day to play minecraft, she replied, “If you let him play, he’ll be asking even more.”

World of Warcraft, Skylander, crack, meth…

I understand there is a game for adults called “World of Warcraft” aka “WOW” where you get to be anyone you want, as powerful, beautiful, special, rich, you name it. Adults would so rather be their character, that they lose their jobs, their families, their marriages. Apparently 40% of people who play the game become addicted. The WOW product geared toward hooking youngsters is called Skylander. I just don’t see the point in handing your children an addiction on a platter. Once again, search “WOW addiction” and you’ll see countless stories from deeply miserable human beings. It just so happens that if you search “Skylander addiction” that someone already patented that and is making it cool. The problem is that many parents don’t know the dark underbelly of these “games” until it’s too late. Since new games are being unveiled constantly, I will simply research the addiction factor of the game before I allow it in my child’s repertoire.

I’ve heard that the three things that will ruin your life (because they ultimately undermine your ability to be happy) are credit card debt, drugs, and porn. I’d add video games to that. There’s way too much out there in the way of amazing life to spend it glued to a screen in a virtual world. I’m not judging those who choose to spend their lives doing this. Whatever floats your boat. I’d just rather my children take off on a real boat – that’s paid for. And if they are going to spend thousands of hours doing a particular thing, it’d be nice if they had something like a talent or a skill to show for it.

So, to minecraft, as worn down as I’m getting,  I say no. Yet again. And then it passes. It will resurface in another week or two, but no minecraft for us. We will not conform – as long as there are gardens and zoos and real games like capture the flag and cards and chess and beaches and fishing and painting and reading and friends and sports and you get the idea.

And – some afterthoughts:

  • The only parents I’ve come across who defend these addictive games as harmless are addicted to the games themselves.
  • It’s okay for my child to be the only one on his sports team who can’t talk minecraft. Lead by example for one. And for two, the other parents might appreciate, as I do, the child who changes the subject. The road less traveled usually rocks.
  • I also realize this post might be a yawner for most considering minecraft is nothing new. However, these are my two cents for when the next big “must-play” game comes out.
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