Food truck fiasco, tuttle twins, connor boyack, books about liberty, liberty children book, tuttle books, economics books for kids, libertarian books for kids

Tuttle Twins and the Food Truck Fiasco Review and Discount

Some background on Tuttle Twins and the Food Truck Fiasco

The Food Truck Fiasco is based on the concepts found in Henry Hazlitt’s “Economics in one lesson”. This fantastic book is itself based, in part, on Frédéric Bastiat’s book ” The Law”. Hazlitt was an extensive writer in the classical liberal tradition and an admirer of Ludwig Von Mises, the great Austrian school economist. Hazlitt’s purpose in writing “Economics in one lesson” was to explain economic principles in an unforgettable and easy to understand book.

What about the Story

Food truck fiasco, tuttle twins, connor boyack, books about liberty, liberty children book, tuttle books, economics books for kids, libertarian books for kids

Tuttle Twins visiting a food truck.

The story follows, as all the Twins books do, Ethan and Emily Tuttle. The story starts with The Tuttle twins selling lemonade at their own lemonade stand. As the story progresses, the Twins visit different food trucks and learn about the onerous regulations and protectionism they face. The Tuttle Twins, being inquisitive as they are, begin to look into this and ask questions. They quickly find out about Bobs Big BBQ and how he is using the government to stifle his competition.

Talking with their parents and food truck owners, the twins learn how competition can protect customers and drive down prices. After a family talk, the Ethan and Emily, as well as their parents, come up with a plan to educate and potentially roll back regulations.

The Tuttle twins go on to set up a protest outside of Bobs Big BBQ. With help from their parents and food truck owners, the twins are able to get the press to show up as well. A few days after the protest, the Tuttle twins and their allies take to city hall to voice their displeasure with the protectionist regulations. After everyone speaks, an embarrassed city council votes to repeal the regulations. This makes the Tuttle twins food truck heroes!

What did Isaiah Think

Isaiah liked this book. The idea of selling lemonade to people appealed to him. He loved the variety of food Food truck fiasco, tuttle twins, connor boyack, books about liberty, liberty children book, tuttle books, economics books for kids, libertarian books for kidstrucks, the different foods they sold, and the different looks they each had. His favorite being an old-fashioned taco truck.

Where we live we do not have food trucks. This idea was completely new to Isaiah and he loved it. Seeing delicious food being made in a truck and driving the truck around to people captivated his imagination and kept his attention. When we got to the portion about why the food trucks were going out of business, he was genuinely upset about what was happening. The idea that they the food trucks were being targeted was not ok with him and he voiced this several times.

The Tuttle twins being heralded as the heroes at the end inspired Isaiah and is a great ending to the book.

What Did I Think

It is great that this book distills the principles of “Economics in one lesson” to children. The illustrations were done by Elijah Stanfield, once again, they are superb.

The story unfolds in a natural progression that the inquisitive mind of a child can easily follow. It lays out the principles clearly and concisely. Connor Boyack’s writing, overall, is great in this book as well. There are a few places where the conversation in the book is forced, but overall, the writing is engaging and the conversations natural. Plus, making the Tuttle Twins the heroes to the food truck owner inspired my son to want to look for harmful things to fight against.

Critical Thoughts

Food truck fiasco, tuttle twins, connor boyack, books about liberty, liberty children book, tuttle books, economics books for kids, libertarian books for kidsThe biggest issue I have with the book is the occasional forced or unnatural conversations. These are few and they seem to be explaining a definition. This happens through character conversation between some of the food truck owners and the twins. This isn’t a big deal, it simply disrupts the flow of the conversation in the book. If you’re reading the book to your child, they may not even notice it.

Another point of contention, although not for me personally, is the child activism that takes place in the book. I have heard several parents complain that it is getting children to try and be activist at too young of an age. I don’t have an issue with this or with Isaiah finding something that is wrong and fighting against it.

Would I recommend it?

I would recommend The Food Truck Fiasco. It does a spectacular job at laying the foundation of economic Food truck fiasco, tuttle twins, connor boyack, books about liberty, liberty children book, tuttle books, economics books for kids, libertarian books for kidsthought that Hazlitt explained in “Economics in one lesson“. Isaiah, at 5, is able to understand the themes in this book and it is giving him a foundation that he will be able to build on later on with more complex economic concepts.

Let’s not forget that if you do decide to purchase the Combo Pack, you will get activity workbooks for children with it as well.

If you would like to purchase any of the Tuttle Twins books click Here. You can also purchase a combo pack with several free bonuses Here, it is a great deal plus You can get 25% off of your purchase by using coupon code PARENT. You can take an additional 4o% off by using the code FORTY as well.

The Tuttle Twins series are considered children’s books on liberty, or as one person put it, libertarian books for kids. While this case can be made, they hold more important lessons than just that. The Miraculous Pencil is strictly economic in nature, while also indirectly mentioning liberty. The Tuttle Books are not just for those who are libertarian but for those who want their children to have a foundation in freedom but economic thought as well.

 

Our Review of the Tuttle Twins and The Law, the Creature from Jekyll Island, and Miraculous Pencil

Connor Boyack talking about the Tuttle Twins on the Tom Woods Show.

Connor also runs a Utah Think Tank called The Libertas Institute

Connor’s book Passion Driven Education

Connor’s new book for teens and young adults Lessons from a Lemonade Stand

Check out our awesome Homeschooling guides. One to homeschool on a budget and one to homeschool when you’re busy!

A Primer On Direct Primary Care

Direct primary care also known as concierge medicine is simply the modern way to have an actual Doctor-patient relationship. One that focuses on the patient and their needs rather than the wants of the insurance company. Direct primary care providers or concierge Doctors cut out the middlemen i.e. the insurance companies, and provide service directly to the patients. Allowing the Doctors to innovate in new and interesting ways.

What do DPC clinics and Providers do?

Direct care physicians and clinics business models are simple, yet in this time of bureaucracy, it is simply Direct primary care, Atlas MD, Concierge medicine, primary care, doc clinic, josh umber, unorthodox, direct primary care providersrevolutionary.  The physicians, simply put, do not accept insurance. Patients pay cash, usually in a membership model, and in return, they get access to their Doctors. Dr. Josh Umbehr, the founder of AtlasMD, often uses this analogy:

“The membership model of concierge medicine allows us to keep the cost per person low while maximizing the availability and quality of the services. By eliminating the third-party payer—insurance—when it comes to routine care, we get ourselves back to a model more consistent with the actual, marketplace purpose of insurance and the way it works in every other area where it applies: car insurance, homeowner’s insurance, life insurance. All these things insure primarily catastrophic events. You don’t have car insurance for gasoline, oil changes, tires, etcetera; why have health insurance for family-medicine primary care?”

My current Direct care physician, Cory Annis MD. Founder of Unorthodoc in Cary NC, has this to say about why she moved to the concierge / direct primary care model:

“I knew that there had to be a better way. So I launched Unorthodoc, a practice that operates without the constraints of insurance, in order to give my patients what they deserve –affordable, relationship-driven primary health care”

         Cory Annis

Concierge doctors focus on the patient. They cut out the insurance company to provide the primary care the patients wants and deserves. They offer spectacular value to their customers/patients and in return, the doctor receives a loyal customer. This truly is a market-driven solution to the issue of having doctors see 2000 patients a month while only seeing each patient for 3-5 minutes. Instead of the patient being another checkbox to fill, or form to fill, they are an actual human the doctor cares about. The relationship is at the core of direct primary care and that is great for both Doctor and patient.

How DPC can save you money and provide value

I have had two different direct medical care providers in two different states. Both have different variations Direct primary care, Atlas MD, Concierge medicine, primary care, doc clinic, josh umber, unorthodox, direct primary care providersand offer different products. Both Unorthodoc, who I currently have, and AtlasMD have been stellar in the service that they offer. Kansas is a bit more liberal, not in the political meaning, with how much freedom direct primary care providers have. In North Carolina, it seems a bit more strict and they have a insureance law that they can bludgeon direct primary care phycisian and clinics with.

Several ways concierge primary care providers save the patient money and build value is the amount of things they offer in their membership price. Many offer wholesale or at cost labs, vaccines, and casting for bones. Others offer free DEXA scans, suturing service, xrays and family practice procedures. Many of the DPC clinics also negotiate surgery services and prices, usually below half cost, as another way to save.

If that wasn’t good enough, many offer several ways to contact the doctor. AtlasMD allows you to text, tweet, email, call, video chat, and more. You can send pictures to the doctor about things your worried about, such as moles, and they go directly into your medical record so they can follow it. Another interesting perk for some of the direct primary care clinics is that they will make house calls, or you can see them as many times as you would like. None of these services are universal to all DPC providers but the majority have a majority of these services. This is heavily dependent upon the state in which you live though.

Where can I find a Direct Primary Care Provider

Google is always a way to start your search, however, there is a neat little tool you can use to search for them. You can use this map or this one. They show direct primary care providers and clinics, both hybrid (those that take insurance for some patients but also a DPC component) and pure models.

What Do I think of DPC and my experience.

Direct primary care, Atlas MD, Concierge medicine, primary care, doc clinic, josh umber, unorthodox, direct primary care providersI have had great experiences with both AtlasMD and Unorthodoc. Both are pure direct primary care providers. I have found that most of the Direct primary care providers are flexible with what they will work with. Some have strict standard in regards to what they take, others care about vaccines, while others are flexible with them. My experience is that being able to reach my doctor when I need, usually through text, it is great.

A few examples that show some of the value I have gotten. My wife needed an anti-inflammatory and my  direct primary care provider was able to get her a 90 day supply for $1.07. Another example, I was able to get a full lab panel for 4 dollars, had a DEXA scan done for free, and ask questions of my doctor in an instant. It has been fantastic.

Should you still have insurance

This question comes up a lot when I talk about direct primary care / concierge medicine. The answer is always the same. You should have health insurance or a health sharing program. The DPC model covers the majority of what you will need, however, you should have insurance or a sharing program to cover you and your family for catastrophic incidences.

What is the down side

The biggest down side that I have found is this, there are not a lot of specialties that do this or are allowed to adopt this model. In Kansas OBGYN services cannot be done in this method. I would like to see more specialties, dentist, and even others adopt this model. This is seriously the ownly downside we have come across.

Conclusion

Would I recommend this model? Yes, yes I would. If you value having a relationship with your doctor, get fantastic value for the amount you pay, see your doctor for longer than 3 minutes, and be treated like a customer than a checkbox then yes, I would recommend this model. It has been a blessing to us. We first got it wehn I was making $11,000 a year in nursing school and I still have it. It has been a great way to increase the value I get for the dollars I spend on the health of my family.

Helpful Links

Dr. Josh Umbehr or AtlasMD on the Tom Woods ShowDirect primary care, Atlas MD, Concierge medicine, primary care, doc clinic, josh umber, unorthodox, direct primary care providers

Dr. Josh Umbehr Lions of liberty Interview

Dr. Josh Umbehr. Interview with Objective Standard

Video of Dr. Josh Umbehr talking about DPC and AtlasMD

Benjamin Rush Institute video on Direct Primary care

I recommend Bob Murphy’s book Primal Prescription

 

Miraculous Pencil, Tuttle Twins, Economics, Liberty, Kids, children,

Tuttle Twins and the Miraculous Pencil Review and Discount

Tuttle Twins and the Miraculous Pencil

This is the second in the series from Author Connor Boyack with the. Connor takes Leonard E. Reeds classic book I, pencil, and turns it into a form that children can understand. Rather than focusing on liberty subjects, Connor creates a basic economics book for kids based on the Tuttle Twins. Connor has created a children’s economics book that is easy to understand. Allowing children the ability to explore concepts usually not seen till high school. Elijah Stanfield joined Connor again to illustrate this installment as well. The illustrations turned out wonderful and kept my sons attention through the entirety of the book.

Some Background

I, pencil, the book that this is distilled from, comes from Leonard E. Read. Leonard was the founder of FEE, Foundation for Economic Education, a leading voice in Austrian economics and liberty. It is currently run by his son, Leonard W. Read.

The book chronicles the “family tree” of a pencil. Detailing what all goes into making one single pencil. It is a fantastic little essay that show’s how complex and rather stunning the economy is. It is great at inspiring awe in adults.

Tuttle Twins, Miraculous Pencil, Libertarian, Liberty, Kids, Book, economics. Connor Boyack

Tuttle Twins getting on the bus. Miraculous Pencil pg. 1

What about the Story

The story begins with the Tuttle Twins, Ethan, and Emily, going on a field trip with the rest of their classmates. The children are trying to figure out what awesome place they are going. The bakery, a candy factory, a farm? They show up to a pencil factory and are disappointed by this development. They begin the tour and meet one of the workers who tell the children that nobody in the world knows how to make one simple pencil. As a result of the children’s disbelief, the worker has the children list what goes into one simple pencil. After this exercise, he has them list what goes into each of those things that make up the pencil. Rubber, wood, paint, graphite and more. The worker then lays out what it takes to get each of these pieces and more.

The worker show’s the Tuttle Twins and their classmates how one simple pencil takes a gigantic amount of effort to make as well as resources from around the world. This leads to the amazement and wonder the kids experience knowing that one simple pencil takes people from all over the world to make.

What did Isaiah Think

As much as I like this book, this is Isaiah’s least favorite out of the original three Tuttle Twins books we have. He likes the Liberty, Tuttle Twins, Miraculous pencil, book review, Children, kids, liberty, libertarian, economicsCreature from Jekyll Island the most. This is not only because of the story but the area the story takes place in, as well as the creature. The creature kept his attention in that book.

In The Miraculous Pencil book, Isaiah really liked seeing the different processes that it takes to make the pencil that are illustrated in the book. At 5, he does have a grasp on what the economy is, however, this book would be best suited for those 8 and above. After reading this with Isaiah, he no longer thinks he can build a pencil himself and he is starting to see how gigantic an economy is. He is also beginning to realize that cooperation is what makes the economy work. He has worked this out with some of his own friends in creating a little barter economy of their own at times.

What did I think

It is a fantastic book. I read it before I read it to Isaiah and I believe it does a great job at distilling Leonard Reads insights to a much younger mind than Read had intended. I did realize while reading it that it would probably go over Isaiah’s head but I think he could definitely grasp some of the concepts in its pages. This is one of my favorite books, and that has to do with the importance I put on economics. It is great for those kids who are a smidge older than Isaiah, but I believe 4 and 5-year-olds like Isaiah will grasp some important points from it.

Tuttle Twins, Book review, miraculous pencil, connor boyack, book review, liberty, libertarian, economics

Materials from all over the world

This seems to be a book that kids, as they grow, can turn towards to grasp more concepts as their minds become ready to receive it. The insights in it are deep, much like Leonard’s original essay. This book did a great job of getting Isaiah to ask questions. Most of these questions, at first were about what pencils were made of and what exactly those things were. After a few readings, he began to ask where other things in our house came from and how they were made. This lead to a conversation about how many of the things he has or wants are made by others in a different country in exchange for money. That conversation brought questions about Nerf guns.

Critical Thoughts

My biggest critique is that it might not keep kids interests. While it is wonderfully written, it is the weakest in the original three Tuttle Twins books Connor has put out. My second critique is how long the book is. It is 50 pages long. At Isaiah’s age, 50 pages do not get read in one sitting. With older children, this should not be a problem.

Would I recommend It

I would Recommend this book even for parents with younger children. You may be surprised by what your children will learn from it. Kids can understand remarkable concepts before we realize it. If you are looking for a book that teaches the principles of sound money, this is it. If you are looking for a series that teaches children about liberty, this series is for you as well!

Lets not forget that if you do decide to purchase the Combo Pack, you will get activity workbooks for children with it as well.

If you would like to purchase any of the Tuttle Twins books click Here. You can also purchase a combo pack with several free bonuses Here, it is a great deal plus You can get 25% off of your purchase by using coupon code PARENT

The Tuttle Twins series are considered children’s books on liberty, or as one person put it, libertarian books for kids. While this case can be made, they hold more important lessons than just that. The Miraculous Pencil is strictly economic in nature, while also indirectly mentioning liberty. The Tuttle Books are not just for those who are libertarian but for those who want their children to have a foundation in freedom but economic thought as well.

Fee.org

Leonard E. Reads original I, pencil.

Our Review of the Tuttle Twins and The Law and our review of Tuttle Twins and the Creature from Jekyll Island

Connor Boyack talking about the Tuttle Twins on the Tom Woods Show.

Connor also runs a Utah Think Tank called The Libertas Institute

Check out our awesome Homeschooling guides. One to homeschool on a budget and one to homeschool when you’re busy!

 

A Primer on Health Sharing

For a parent, the health care mandate has caused mayhem. Some of us lost our insurance while others could not afford it after the premiums rose. For Susie and I, we were in limbo. I made to much for subsidies but not enough to afford insurance itself. This left us having to pay the individual mandate penalty every year. This wasn’t really feasible, however, it was cheaper than paying for health insurance. During this period I had heard of and looked into Health Sharing as an alternative to health insurance.

A Primer on Health Sharing

There are 4 big health sharing providers. These seem to be the only ones written into the ACA (ObamaCare) law. These 4 providers are Liberty Healthshare, Samaritan Ministries, MediShare, and Christian Health Care Ministries. All 4 of these are ACA exempt, meaning that if you are a member of any of them you will not have to pay that dreaded Individual mandate tax/fine.

What is Health Sharing?

Health Sharing, simply put, is sharing your medical bills between you and all other members. This is not pooling risk, this is actually you helping to pay others medical bills and them doing the same thing. The mechanism by which this happens is different for each provider. Some might, like Liberty Share, have you send in your money and put it in escrow and pay the bills from there. Others will send you another members bill and you pay it directly. Either way, you will be paying and sharing each other’s medical bills.

What about Pre-existing conditions?

With pre-existing conditions, each provider has the right to deny your membership. It is up to each individual health share to determine what they will and will not allow. Each has a section on their website dealing with pre-existing conditions. In most cases, however, each health share will phase in the pre-existing condition. Year after year they will allow you to share more of the cost. All 4 cover maternity cost but if you are pregnant before you start your membership it will be considered a pre-existing condition.

Liberty Share and MediShare both have programs you are enrolled into if you have high blood pressure or if you are obese. This is to get you to mitigate the cost that comes along with these conditions. This is simply a way to try and get the member healthier to mitigate cost.

Do You Need to be a Christian?

It looks that way. I haven’t seen on that is ACA exempt that does not require you to be a Christian.

What About Prescriptions?

Each of the 4 major health share providers offers prescription service. With that being said, each has their own set of limitations and restrictions. Each program varies on what they share and what they will in regards to prescriptions. As a money saving tip, you can check out websites like GoodRx.com or Pharmacychecker.com to see who has the best prices on the prescriptions you need.

What About Price Shawn

Each provider has a different price structure that varies based on level purchased, pre-existing conditions, and any add-ons that you purchase. The price range for each of the big 4 goes like this. Liberty Health Share $107-449, MediShare $64-627, Christian health ministries $90-450, and Samaritan $180-405. That is the general break down of their price structures. It is vague but it is best if you check it out and see what you need as they have varying degrees of coverage dependent upon what you want or need. These prices also differ based on if you are single, married, or have a family. There is an enrollment fee to be aware of. It is between $125-200 for all of them except Christian health ministries which does not appear to have a fee at all.

Things To Be Aware Of

You need to make sure you understand what they will and won’t share. Like insurance, read the fine print. This includes any pre-existing conditions, birth control or any other incident. They have a set of guidelines they follow and a list of things they do not cover. Read those things and then read them again. If you need prescription coverage, again, read their policy on it and make sure you clarify any questions you may have.

Each of these providers has a personal responsibility portion. This acts similar to a deductible. Make sure you know how much it is if it is for each individual and if it is an annual limit or a per-incident limit. One last thing to be aware of is that Samaritan and Christian healthcare ministries have you receive the bill as well as try and negotiate the bill down. Liberty Health Share receives the bill and discounts it on your behalf.

Check out our Primer on Direct Primary Health Care. It is a great compliment to Health Sharing

This is a simple introduction to these services and as such, you should do your due diligence yourself before making a decision.

Xero Prio

Today we are taking a looking at the company Xero Shoes  and their shoes. Specifically Xero Prio barefoot shoes. I have had these Prio’s for almost 6 months and have put them through the paces.  I have been on a quest to find the best barefoot shoes to go hiking in. It has been difficult to find a dedicated barefoot hiking shoe. The barefoot boots I have tried are a bit too confining around the ankle, and I prefer the movement I get with a shoe as I hike.

How it looks

The Prio comes in men’s and women’s, two colors for each. The men’s come in black and blue as well as yellow and black while the women’s Prios are Yellow, turquoise, and black while the other pair is purple and black. With that out of the way, my personal opinion is that these Xero shoes look great! I am not a fan of the color yellow so I opted for the blue Prio shoes. The colors go well together and really look good. My son, however, still thinks I should have gone with the yellow Xero Prios.

Specs

This is straight from the Xero website.

  • Natural FIT — A wide toe box lets your toes spread and relax. Plus the “XERO-drop” sole (non-elevated heel and low-to-the-ground) allows for proper posture, balance, and agility
  • Natural MOTION — The Prio is flexible enough to let your feet bend, move, and flex the way, well, that feet are supposed to. Plus, they’re so lightweight, you’ll barely know you have them on. A men’s 9 is only 7.6 ounces each
  • Natural FEEL — The Prio uses the same 5.5mm FeelTrue® rubber from our Z-Trek sandal, so you get great protection while still getting the ground feedback that your feet like. With an optional 2mm insole, the Prio lets you Feel The World®
  • Vegan-friendly materials — No animal products in the Prio
  • Huarache-inspired design — The heel strap is not only eye-catching but functional
  • Adjustable instep strap — The “inverted V” straps aren’t sewn down, so you can use them to lock in your instep while keeping your toes free to move
  • Reflective straps — That middle section of the heel and instep straps are highly reflective for evenings and night
  • Optional 2mm insole — If you need a bit of extra protection, toss in the optional 2mm insole
  • Barefoot friendly — Wear the Prio with or without socks
  • 5,000-mile sole warranty — like ALL our FeelTre® soles, the Prio’s has our 5,000-mile sole warranty

I personally took out the 2mm insole because I enjoy the more barefoot feel and I absolutely love the room in the toe box of this shoe. I haven’t put 5000 miles on the sole yet, but after 6 months of running and hiking all over the great state of North Carolina and the Smokey Mountains, I am up to about 900 miles and they are still holding up great!

Unboxing

I usually have unboxing pictures but this time my son and I were heading to a hike and we picked these up at the post office on the way. I slapped them on and went on a hike almost immediately.

First impression

I had been looking for minimalist shoes that I could hike in for a while. I have tried others such as Lems primal 2 and Lems boulder boots as well. These Prio’s caught my attention at first because they have a 5000-mile Sole guarantee on these shoes. My criteria for a barefoot hiking shoe was that it had to have the wide toe box, not inhibit ankle dexterity, look good, zero drop heel to toe, and have a thin sole for ground feel. This met those demands. That is unprecedented in the shoe business. I haven’t had to try it yet but I am at 900 miles on these shoes and they are holding up great. Aside from the great guarantee, the shoe looked beautiful coming out of the box. Crisp colors, no loose stitching or scuffs on the shoes.

After getting the shoes on in a hurry to knock out a quick hike before the rain came, we set off on the trail. The shoe, right out of the box, was pretty comfortable. There was no real stiffness to the Xero’s and the shoe was quite flexible. I was able to jump from rock to rock with no real slipping and run over a pretty technical portion of the trail and still have great ground feel.

The first Hike

On this quick first hike, I put the shoes on a little bit of a test. This particular hike allowed me to run a trail, climb trees, jump from rock outcropping to rock outcropping, and scale the face of a rock quarry all before it rained. I loved the way the Xero Prio’s handled the trail run. The shoes are light and allow for toe splay as well as great ground feel. They have great traction that allowed me to jump from outcropping to outcropping with minimal slipping on the jump or sliding on the landing. They did great when I scaled the quarry face, although my wife was none too happy that I let my son do it with me. I was actually pretty thankful for the grip on these shoes as it allowed me to get a nice stick to the rock in certain areas were my Lems had failed before. This allowed me to finally get me and my son to the top of the quarry face.

Overall, the first hike was a success.

Barefoot Shoes for Work

I had no intention of wearing the Xero Prio’s to work, however, the scrubs I wear to the hospital I work at matches perfectly and these quickly became my go-to shoe. This provided me a nice benefit. I had been

The prize at the top of the hike

having sore feet since I had started spending 14 hours on my feet on a concrete floor. After I switched to the Prio’s, my feet became less sore and in about 2 weeks, it had resolved. I am not ready to say it was just the shoes but between the shoes, I had worn for work, which were cushiony shoes for male nurses, and the Xero Prio the Prio’s seemed to be the better choice.

So whats the Bad

Without fail, there is always a negative to anything. With these shoes, at least for me, it was one thing. The traction and grip are great when things are dry outside. However, when things get a bit damp, scrambling or climbing rocks become a bit more difficult. The shoe is not nearly as grippy in wet conditions. Now, this isn’t a fault of just this shoe, it is of almost every shoe I have worn but it is still a negative.

If them not having grip when it is wet outside is bad then the good thing about them when they are wet is that they hardly weigh a thing. I found this out the hard and pretty scary way. There is a pool near where I live and as I was walking over to find my son who was with his friends I saw a boy who looked to be 3 or 4 near the deep end. He jumped from the side of the pool to get on an inflatable toy and missed. He didn’t come back up and nobody seemed to notice so I jumped in fully clothed, shoes and all, swam to him and pulled him up. The boy ended up being fine. The Xero’s were light enough to not weigh me down but substantial enough to provide me with propulsion as I tried to swim. After getting out of the water, I wore them home because even though they were wet, they were still lightweight.

Overview

I gave a quick overview of my first hike with these but wanted to let you know as well, I have hiked in the Smokey Mountains, Hanging Rock, Raven Rock, Craggy point, Carolina beach state park, and many other places with these shoes and they are great. They got dirty, muddy, and almost caught on fire but they have proven themselves as my go-to shoe. They even wash easily if you need to wash them.

Conclusion

Are these the best barefoot shoes ? Well, I don’t think I can answer that honestly since I haven’t tried them all but Xero Prio’s are at the top of my list.

 

Blue shoes are my Xero Prio, Black ones are my Lems primal 2

Whether you are looking for minimalist shoes for men or women, barefoot hiking shoes, or barefoot gym or work shoes. Consider the Xero Prio. They look great, give you great ground feel, they are comfortable, and they really allow your feet to move the way they were intended. They are Zero rise shoes, meaning no rise in height from heel to toe. I have abused these shoes and they still look great and function perfectly. What more can you really ask for

 

Family and Community as a bulwark for liberty

The family and community, if preserved,  can be the bulwark we need to defend liberty. The think local, act local mantra can be especially helpful. These two units can certainly be used against the constant assaults on the liberties of the individual but the competing allegiances that each individual has. These include the church, clubs, extended family, counties, and states.

Society, with the degradation of the family unit as the basis or better said, building block of society, has withered and allowed the sense of community to die. Gone is the sense of being neighborly or thinking locally and acting locally to effect change in your “world”. This has been erased and on those ruins built the idea of thinking nationally and acting nationally and the “State” as the driving force of change.

Creating Change!

Change should be local in nature. Starting, first, with the individual and then through the family and then the community. This action, on a local level, is where you will see immediate change. This is how you can begin to change your world and where you can create the most change in your own life and the lives of those around you. Rather than focusing on the national scale, you should focus what is right in your backyard. Creating change within your family culture is the first place to begin and this can be done by making small changes that can lead to big results. Try creating family traditions on a weekly or monthly level and then on to a seasonal as well as a yearly level. What these should be is dependent on the family and what your interests are.

You can also institute a daily goal. In our family it is to do one good deed a day. This is shared at bedtime and we discuss lessons learned and what can be done in the future. This seems to snowball into multiple good deeds done during the day rather than just one! The kids enjoy it and us as parents like it because we see our children doing good for others. You have to be the change you want to see in the world.

Can these small changes really work?

The question of ” can these small changes really do anything?” comes up often. Well, can it? Yes! Simply initiating change with you first as well as within the family can bring changes that you are not able to see. This can affect change in those around you, including your neighbors, extended family, friends and more. Have you ever had your day radically changed by a simple act of kindness or a mean act? These can change your day or even your week. By having a family culture of doing good, you can change the world around you. Being the example can lead others to do the same and it begins to change others.

How does this relate to liberty, Shawn?

How does this relate to liberty? Good question. This is the building block of thinking locally and acting locally. You are not going to be able to change things for the better, in your own backyard, if you have a bunch of angry family, friends, and neighbors. Doing good deeds, and making it a part of your family culture, can help make it a community culture. This builds up moral capital that you can expend towards creating more liberty. Also, this type or culture breeds a bulwark. This can help the community tackle its own problems without the force of government and on the backs of volunteers who are interested in creating the change they want to see. This is easier done in smaller communities first but can be extended to larger locales. Bring about a family culture of doing good and valuing liberty and be a beacon to the community at large. Focusing on the family and community takes the priority out of the national arena and puts it back into the community arena where individuals can work towards tackling the problems with innovative and differing solutions. We know there is no one size fits all solution so let each family, community, or state work on those problems instead of looking towards Washington D.C. to fix everything.

 

What type of family culture are you trying to create? Let us know in the comments below!

Marriage is the foundation

I believe most people realize that a marriage should be a rock for your children. It should also be an example of love and kindness that your children can mimic and learn from as they grow in their own relationships. However, many couples fall into a funk where their relationship is based on a tit for tat mindset. This can not only cause issues in the marriage. It can also run over into other areas of your life as well as teach your children that this is how it is supposed to be.

Tit for Tat

What do I mean by tit for tat? What I mean by this is that you will do something for your spouse only if they do something for you. A tally is being kept and the scales in the marriage are to be equal at all times. You do not take more than them and they do not take more than you.

A big issue is that when a relationship is based on keeping things equal, we lose sight of what is important. Is the house work harder than going to work? Is washing dishes worth more than changing the oil in the car, staying with the kids worth less than managing the bank accounts? We each have subject value scales and each of us values these at differing rates of worth. None of those are necessarily worth more than the other.

Don’t keep score in your marriage

You don’t want a 50/50 marriage. A 50/50 marriage is a product of a tit for tat relationship. Your marriage is a living organism. One thing that should be made clear, not necessarily in words but in deeds, is that each of you can take more than you are giving if you need to. I know that when I have a rough day at the hospital I can come home and know that Susie will pour herself into me and let me unburden myself of the stress of my job. Susie knows as well that if her day has been rough that I will cook dinner, I will clean, I will school the children. If you are keeping score and you feel the other person is taking more than they give, you will feel slighted and resentment will build.

Keep the scales balanced sounds great. Each person will do their share and won’t take advantage of each other. This is hogwash! We know that it will happen. You will take more than you give and so will your partner. Marriages, as with all relationships, are always in flux. This week may be different than last week. This month different than last year. This age different than when you were first married. We change, we have bad days and good days, we lose our temper and we are romantic. This is the nature of most marriages to me.

What can you do

There is a natural ebb and flow in relationships. When your wife is sick, you pick up the slack because you love your wife and you want to help out. When your husband has the dreaded man flu, the same happens. This usually happens naturally. As nature has cycles, people and relationships do as well. Being conscious of this natural ebb and flow will allow you to do something that can truly help build a strong successful marriage.

No, I am not going to say something cliche like ” good communication is key”. What will build this marriage is giving more. Having more “positive” positive interactions in your marriage than “negative” ones. What I mean by this is simple. It is like a bank account. The more positive deposits into the bank account the more it grows. The same with marriage. The more positive interactions versus negative interactions will help build your marriage.

This sounds like keep score right? Sorta. You do have to be conscious of having more positive interactions than negative. If you love your spouse though, it should be rather easy to serve. One of the best examples I can think of outside of my marriage is of friends of my wife and me. The wife stayed home to take care of the kids while the husband went to school and work. He was going to school to be a nurse and working to provide for his family. His wife knew it was going to be hard and she handled it. It was not always easy and I am sure they struggled. She gave selflessly to school the children and keep up the house while he gave selflessly to keep them fed and housed as well as building a future. They both contributed in different ways and both gave to each other without thinking of themselves. Neither kept score.

This sacrifice gave them a strong healthy marriage even when going through something as straining as they did for two years.

Is this the only thing that you have to do?

No. We all know that marriage can be tough. However, this can help you have that strong foundation to grow your marriage into what you want to model for your kids. This is not a quick fix, this is not a one and done, and this is not something that you should stop doing. Giving to your partner without keeping score and without expectation of something in return will make both of you happy in the long run and help create that foundation for your marriage, as well as your parenting.

Shawn, this has nothing to do with Liberty

In the infamous words of Donald Trump: Wrong!!! Liberty isn’t simply learning about rights, economics, the non-aggression principle, and when violence can actually be used. I am sure I will catch flack for it but your marriage or your relationship with your partner is the foundation, the ground that you are planting your children in. It isn’t enough to simply talk about principles of liberty it is paramount to model them as much as you can. Live what you know in thought, word, desire, deed. Your marriage to your spouse is the first relationship your kids will see. It has a great influence and impact on them, make it a good one. So make sure you plant your children in an environment that you would want to be in.

Let’s Ditch One-Size-Fits-All Schooling

It is high time that we ditch standardized curricula and lists of stuff that all kids are forced to learn. I am a former k-12 teacher and I used to believe in these lists. Now as a college professor teaching in a College of Education, I no longer do.

Unfortunately, just about everyone else does.

Most developed countries have a national curriculum ensuring that every student leaves school having learned the same content. While the US has no national curriculum, we have what is effectively a list of national standards – the Common Core State Standards – whose stated purpose is to “ensure that all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life.” Additionally, all 50 US states have their own standardized state curriculum.

But is there really a list of stuff we can generate that all kids should be forced to learn, let alone one that is twelve years in duration?

I want to suggest several reasons for doubt.

Your List Won’t Match Your School’s List

For the record, I do think there are things that everyone should know. I just happen to believe that those things are needed because of their pervasiveness in human life, but it also means that people would likely learn them without force.

We all need to learn how to speak, but language is such an essential feature to good human functioning that we do it without being forced to.

There are scores of things we teach in schools that are not necessary for students to be successful.

That’s the way we learn a lot of things, like how to navigate the norms of our culture, how to operate common devices like televisions and computers, etc. And if schools were free to choose (or create) curriculum, it is doubtful that we’d need government to ensure that things like basic math and reading were there. In fact, it is likely that parents would simply demand that those things be included in the curricula.

And conversely, there are scores of things we teach in schools that I’d argue are not necessary for students to be successful in the world. In a book called The Math Myth: and Other STEM Delusions, Andrew Hacker argues that a good portion of the higher level math we are convinced students need turns out less than useful unless they are going into one of a handful of fields (mathematics professor being one).

I’d argue that a lot of what we teach in schools are this way. Imagine a list of everything you learned in your years of K-12 schooling. Now, think about all the skills and facts you’ve relied on in the past, say, two years. If you are like me (and I suspect most people are), there is probably only a small overlap.

If we then took the number of things on your school list that aren’t also on your life list and calculated the amount of school time that took up, I’d bet there are a good many years represented.

The things that constitute the bulk of my life are in fact things I learned after I was out of k-12.

I’m a good illustration of the point. I am now forty, meaning that I was educated during the time when computers were gaining steam but the internet wasn’t really a thing, and certainly not what it is today. I learned a lot of stuff in school I don’t remember at all. But what I did not learn anything about – because no one foresaw the need – was all the computer skills that my work (and personal life) revolves around: how to create and maintain a website, write emails, navigate the web, etc. Essentially, the things that constitute the bulk of my life are in fact things I learned after I was out of k-12.

The Problem with Standardized Curricula

One big problem with the idea of creating standardized curricula is that we simply don’t know what knowledge will and won’t be relevant in 12 years. There will be many false positives (things we think students will need to know but won’t), and false negatives (things we have no idea students will need to know).

Some believe that a national curriculum is necessary so that everyone is “on the same page.”

In a recent book arguing for a national curriculum, Ed Hirsch writes that, “The duty of schools is to transmit… shared knowledge of the shared language – to transmit the cultural commons of the nation, its public sphere.” As I argue in more detail here, this grossly misunderstands how culture works.

Culture is so much more diverse than that, especially in the information age.

An economy works not because everyone has the same knowledge and skills, but because we all have different knowledge and skills. Culture is similar. Hirsch envisions a world where we all read and do the same things and talk the same talk to the same types of people. Culture is so much more diverse than that, especially in the information age. I can choose what to read, who to talk to, what to do, etc. And when I need to know something, I can find that out when I need it (without having depended on a national curriculum).

But isn’t it better to learn it while you are in school so that you don’t have to relearn it later? This assumes the likelihood that I would learn something when I’m, say, 12 (before I had any occasion to see its importance) and retain it years later when I might happen to need it.

A stark reality check about this likelihood comes from the hit game show Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? which aired from 2007 to 2015. The show consisted of asking contestants a series of questions taken from standard first-through-fifth grade textbooks. During that time, there were only two contestants who answered enough questions (six) to win the grand prize. Yet these were all things we learned between first and fifth grade!

Formal curricula are fine, but we need to recognize that they consist of one group’s guess at what people will need to know a decade from now and what, of that, they will likely retain when needed. My advice is to allow each school to take their own guess, either by allowing them to design their own curriculum or sign on to one of a number of possible curricula (or even choose not to have a set curriculum at all). It just isn’t likely that there really is one list of stuff that everyone should be forced to know.

A quick adventure at Mingo Falls

My family and ours spent a week in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park as well as a few days in Pisgah National Forest. It was a great time for all of us.

The Trek Begins

One of the days my wife suggested we go to Mingo Falls near Cherokee North Carolina. We hoped in the truck and headed that way. When we got their we were greeted by a quarter mile with of stairs. I prefer natural trails versus stairs so I was not happy about this. Our kids hopped out of the truck and we hiked up the stairs. After the stairs were defeated (my sons words) we hiked another quarter to half mile to the falls. This time it was a more natural trail. At the falls was a bridge going over the stream the waterfall created.

My wife started across the fallen logs to get a closer picture of the falls. The rest of the family followed while my daughter and I played in the stream and on the bridge. When my wife returned she had told me my son wanted to get to the top of the falls. The top was 125 feet in the air.

I started across the fallen logs and hopped across the rocks to get to the side of the water fall. Waiting their was Isaiah. We began our ascent with him leading the way. He was determined to do it himself.

The Ascent

As we started Isaiah took the lead and was quickly scrambling up the side of the waterfall. Climbing over rocks, stepping over roots, and ducking under fallen trees. He looked agile for a 4 year old. At the half way point, we noticed that the rugged trail split into three. Before I could say anything Isaiah bolted up the trail closest to the water fall. After I caught up to him, he turned to me and said “daddy are you ok?” To which I responded ” Yeah, why?”  He preceded to tell me that I sounded a little wore out. I laughed and thought, am I really breathing that hard?

We continued up the side of the falls to a small rocky out cropping. We didn’t know it at the time but this was the top of the falls

Finding a Hidden Fall

Neither Isaiah nor I knew this was the top. We couldn’t see it nor hear it. He spotted what looked like a little game trail at the top of the out cropping and started for it. He handled the out cropping with easy while making me nervous the entire time.

Going down the trail, it began to flatten out and become choked with brush and fallen trees. Isaiah handled these with ease, ducking below and scurrying through where he needed to. Not being as small as Isaiah, I lumbered through, stepping over the fallen trees.

Then we heard it.

The sound of falling water. We couldn’t see it yet through the overgrowth but we pushed through and ducked under one last tree. There it was. A smaller water fall than the one we came to see but one that we didn’t know about. It was great experience to find such a thing. Isaiah was proud of himself, making it up by himself and finding a waterfall. We snapped a selfie as proof and began our descent down.

The Descent

On our way down. Isaiah’s Uncle Johnny met us at the rock outcropping. We had worried them because of how long we had been gone. He lead the way to the actual top of Mingo falls and Isaiah and I were able to see the waterfall from the top looking down 125ft.

The way down seemed a bit trickier for Isaiah since he had to meter his speed and try not to slide down. He was able to navigate it well but towards the end he had gotten tired. I helped him down the last 20 feet or so. Once we reached the stream he caught his second wind and we were off across the stream. Jumping across rocks and racing over wet logs to get to the bridge.

The falls were beautiful, especially Mingo falls. Isaiah had a great time, Susie got great pictures and I got to see my son handle climb that could be difficult for adults. It was a great little adventure.

 

Lems Boulder Boots Review

Those who have read this blog before know we hike often. I usually hike in my Lems Primal 2 shoes. I am not much of a boot person but Lems gave me a pair of their Boulder Boots to try out. The boots were not only used them for hiking but for outdoor work as well. This review will go over these Lems boots and how they have held up.

Lems boulder boots black, boot, boulder, minimalist hiking bootFirst Off

Who is Lems? They are essentially and 8 person company. Lems make minimalist shoes and boots and are becoming quite popular. Where are Lems shoes made? They are American run and family owned company based out of Boulder Colorado. Lems has carved a substantial niche out for themselves in the minimalist footwear community. Building up a brand that is known for quality, versatility, and adaptability to what their customers want.

The Boulder boot they sent me was the Lems Boulder Boot Black. They came in a Lems shoe box and looked great out of the box.

The Specs are as follows.

WATERPROOFING  None

  • LAST      Lems Natural-Shape™ Last
  • UPPER   1200 denier nylon – *VEGAN
  • LINING   100% cotton
  • OUTSOLE   9.0mm LemsRubber™ (air-injection rubber)
  • FOOTBED   3.0mm removable PU insole
  • INSOLE BOARD   1.0mm PU strobel (lined with fabric on top)
  • STACK HEIGHT   10.0mm (not including 3.0mm footbed)
  • DROP   0.0mm (Zero-Drop)
  • WEIGHT   9.9oz/280g (sz 43)
  • PROVIDED WITH 2 PARIS OF LACES black + red

 

Without Further delay, the review.

The Great

While I don’t like to wear boots much, I don’t like the ankle support, these boots are great looking and comfortable. These LemsLems boulder boots black, boot, boulder, minimalist hiking boot boots are zero drop heel to toe and have a relatively small outsole at just 9.00mm. They have good ground feel and allow the toes to splay.

They are water resistant. This is great. Here in NC it rains often and in the mountains it is usually damp. Not walking around with soggy socks or feet is wonderful. The Army drilled into me to not let your feet get wet and these boots do a good job at that. Nobody likes hiking with a baby carrier on their back and wet feet. It makes for a bad hike and a long day.

The Good

These are one of the few truly minimalist boots on the market. This makes them good to begin with. On top of this, The boulder boots come with removable insoles for even better ground feel. I prefer to have the insole out. I have been wearing minimalist shoes for awhile and it is much more comfortable for me.

These black boulder boots are tough. I have hiked through the Great Smoky Mountains, Forested mountains in New Mexico, Desert in New Mexico, Arkansas Ozarks, and my brother in law has worked in them. They have held up great. The only thing I have had to do is give them a wash. No rips, tears, or any other destruction has taken place. The soles have held up nicely, showing minimal wear after spending a few weeks hiking in the Mountains.

These would make a great minimalist snow boot for both men and women. With it being water resistant and relatively warm, these boots would perform great in the winter.

The tread is great on dry rocks, sand, trails, and more.

These can roll up small or fold flat to fit in your pack for an extra pair of footwear on your hike. They also dry relatively quickly if you get them wet crossing a stream or river.

Having 2 sets of laces has also been nice.

The Bad

What I don’t like about these Boulder boots is the lip. It looks good but while hiking in the mountains and walking over logs, it gets caught easily. Is this a deal breaker? No. It is just a minor annoyance and something I need to be aware of while I am hiking.

This is a personal one, I don’t like the ankle support. My brother-in-law loves it. For those who like the ankle support, they will love this boot. I have hiked so long in shoes that not having ankle support is a preference for me.

The tread doesn’t do so good on wet rock. To be fair, not many pieces of footwear do good on wet rock. I learned this lesson the Lems boulder boots black, boot, boulder, minimalist hiking boothard way a few years ago when hoping across a stream and I slipped on the rock and injured my ankle. This happened while wearing regular hiking boots. Not minimalist hiking boots. This didn’t happen with Lems and admittedly, these boots do better than traditional shoes on wet rock but not as good as traditional hiking boots.

Conclusion

Would I recommend them? Heck yes. The negatives I listed were all pretty minor in my estimation and definitely are not deal breakers. I prefer to wear my Lems Primal 2’s hiking in the summer…. unless it rains. If it is wet outside, or in the winter time, I will definitely be using these to hike with my wife and 2 kids. Lems Boulder Boots are great for hiking, working, and just casual walking around. Try them out!