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.


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.

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 or 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.

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.

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.


  • 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)


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.


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!



Deuter Kid Comfort III Review.

 Finding a balance between your outdoor side and the little one at home can be a daunting task. Being a father that enjoys being outside, I can tell you it isn’t easy. My wife and I hike and camp often and finding a way to transport our children along the trails wasn’t easy. Our solution? A backpack kid carrier. To be more specific, the Deuter Kid  comfort 3. Before I bought the Kid Comfort III I had read several reviews which never listed things they did not like. I want to lay out the good and the bad.

First things First

Kid Comfort III 3 DeuterAre you and you child a good fit for a kid carrier? Ideally your child should be able to hold its head up without assistance before using a child carrier. The adult carrying the child might have issues if they are short or have a smaller frame. An example: I am 5’4 and I don’t have issues carrying it. I do not have a small frame either. My wife is 5’3 and smaller frame and can still carry it but it is more difficult as it sits higher on her.

Only Child Carrier?

This isn’t the only backpack kid carrier from Deuter. Deuter isn’t the only brand either. The Kid comfort comes in the Kid comfort III, II, I, and air. Osprey has several child carriers. The Poco AG, Plus, and Premium. We had the Osprey Poco AG but opted for the Kid Comfort instead. This was more about my child liking the plush bear that came with the Deuter Kid comfort than a dislike for the osprey child carrier.

What’s great about the Kid Comfort

There are some great features on this kid carrier. It is adjustable like crazy. This is a huge plus. We had big babies so this was Kid Comfort III, kid comfort, deuter, backpack kid carrier. important. Also the frame size between my wife and I is considerable. The seat, where the child sits, is adjustable. You adjust the seat up for smaller children and down as they grow. The seat belt system is also adjustable. The side flaps allow you to adjust how the child sits on you back as well. Pull the flap tighter and the child is closer to your back looser gives them a bit more room. There are two straps that come over the shoulders that also pull the child closer to your back so they don’t throw your center of gravity off while hiking.

The straps for the adults are numerous as well. The pack is fully customizable fit due to these straps. The shoulder straps, waist straps, chest straps are all fully adjustable. to get the right fit for you.

The Kid Comfort III has 7 pockets total on it. Two are on the waist strap. You can carry compass, small snacks for the monsters, watch or other small items in there. We usually pack our compass and a few snacks in here. The other pockets are on the back of the pack. Two on either side of the head of the pack that can hold small water bottles or snacks or the plush teddy bear that came with it. The main pocket is big. It doesn’t say on their website how many liters it holds. It holds diapers, water bottles, first aid kit, extra clothes and more. The upper pockets on the back usually hold more stow away items or they stay empty.

This child carrier also has a kick stand for stability in putting the child in or putting the pack down. This has been great for us. It makes things easier, especially if you have two people to maneuver it on and off.

The Good

kid comfort, deuter kid comfort, child carrierIt has adjustable foot rests for the kids. This tends to keep the kids legs at a 90 degree angle if you want. My kids never kept their feet in them but I know many who do.

I really like the fact that it has a hydration bladder pocket. This has been great for a few reasons. First off, I like carrying water. When I was in the Army, we used Camelbaks and I loved them. Adding a bladder (which is not included 3L capacity) is great. I like being able to sip water while hiking. The second reason this is great is that my daughter loves playing with the hydration hose. It keeps her busy and not fussing.

It tends to put the kids to sleep. This is nice, especially if you are hiking around nap times. On top of that it comes with a pillow for them to lay their face on as well as a sunshade to keep them cool out on the trails.

The Bad

The first bad for me was the price tag. They are not the cheapest one’s. With that being said, I wanted one I could trust with my child and that would be comfortable for them.

The sunshade, while good, has drawbacks as well. It doesn’t work if it is in the morning or late afternoon. It works during the most important times of day ( most of the time, I’ll get to that next) noon and the heat of the day. However, if the child is asleep against the pillow or laying against the side flap, part of their face is exposed. This isn’t a horrible thing but something to be aware of. They might wake up to some funky tan lines.

Kids are messy and this thing isn’t always the easiest to clean. The pillow is, it detaches, but the side flaps are not.

The bladder is great but it fits right between the child and your back. I couldn’t fit a full 3L in the bladder because I would squeeze the water out after I tightened the straps.


Would I recommend this backpack kid carrier? I would. It has been great! The Kid Comfort 3 is comfortable, looks good, has the features I was looking for. It has gotten me through 2 kids and 3 years. We have hiked through the Arkansas Ozarks, New Mexico mountains and forests and deserts, Sandia Peak, North Carolina Smoky mountains, and various trails near home. It has held up tremendously and is money well spent. My wife and I can enjoy one of our favorite past times and the kids can go with us as well.

You can check out our tips and tricks on hiking with children as well!

Have you ever used a backpack child carrier? what were the good and the bad about the one you used? We would love to hear from you. Check us out on twitter, Facebook page or Facebook group, or drop us a comment below!



Hiking With Children

We have been getting emails regarding hiking with children lately. We often go on family friendly hikes as well as family backpacking trips. These trips allow our kids to get out and enjoy nature. We’re going to share a few tips with you to get you and those kids out on the trails!

The first thing to remember is to prep. If you’re new to hiking then I would suggest reading REI’s Ten essentials article as well as their beginner hiker article. Those who are not new can focus strictly on the little ones.

Hiking with Family

The first thing to consider is this, What is your goal? What I have found is that those who do not have children focus on the destination while those with children focus on the journey. This is something to keep in mind when looking for family friendly hikes. For us, hiking with family is fun. Whether it be day hikes or family backpacking trips.

Staying warm, dry, fed and hydrated are things to consider for the whole family. In practice this means bringing plenty of snacks, water, watching the weather and dressing appropriately. Since the children are not your average hiking partner, those jobs fall squarely on your shoulders.

Family hiking should be enjoyable, however, you have to realize that the children will keep you going at a slower pace. This gives the family more time to enjoy things they may just gloss over if they were going at a faster pace. As parents we have to be able to enjoy the little things during family hikes. For my wife and I, it turns into a learning adventure for our kids and ourselves. Pointing out snails and flowers, showing my son how to pet a bee to climbing trees when you come across one. To foster a love of the outdoors you have to let them explore, climb, run, fall, look, ask, and enjoy being out in the wilderness.

Hiking with an infant

Hiking with an infant sounds scary.  If you’re not prepared for it, it can be. The good thing is that outside of feeding them and changing their diapers, you can pretty much hike how you want with a few exceptions.

The biggest difference is your going to have to carry your new hiking partner everywhere. An infant should be swaddled and carried on your front for the first 6 months. There are a few front carriers available. I don’t have a preference since we didn’t hike with one when our son was born nor when our daughter was either. Amazon seems to have a high selection though. After 6 months you can transition them to a backpack carrier. These are a bit nicer, roomier, comfortable, and pricier. We use the Deuter kid comfort III. This pack has worked great for us! It has a sun shade, H20 bladder pocket, tons of pockets and a little plush bear for the kid. Osprey has a few good kid carriers as well

It can get hot in those carriers so it is important to put a hat on or use the sun shade for the kiddo’s as well as keep them hydrated and cooled down. A nice little spray bottle works for that.

The factors limiting your hike would be your endurance, your child’s endurance, as well as the weather. We would suggest not to make it more than a 3-4 hours. In our experience, children get a little stir crazy when strapped in to long.

The motion of the pack while hiking tends to put children to sleep, plan your hikes around nap time.

Hiking With Toddlers

Hiking with toddlers brings its own set of rewards and challenges. Your child will want to walk more and that is great, however, they don’t usually walk very far. We have taken our son hiking and have seen a dramatic increase in the distance he can go. When he was 2.5 he was able to hike around a half mile or more depending on elevation. He is 4.5 now and routinely hikes 4-5 miles with elevation gains. This does not include any side climbing we may do on the trail.

Hangout in the tree

Start slow, keep the baby carrier with you. Your toddler will get tired, you will have to carry them. Stop and take breaks from the hike often. Let them play, snack and drink before you head back on the trail. Know how far you are from the trailhead, you will have to carry them all the way back.

Toddlers love to have their own hiking gear. As they get older, your trekking toddler can get their own pack, hydration bladder, whistle, boots and more. Our son has his own pack now. While he can’t carry a lot in it, it is his pride and joy and he likes to carry my handheld GPS on it. Add these items slowly. Your 2 year old does not need his own pair of boots just yet.

Dress your toddlers in bright clothing. This makes them easy to spot if they run off. Teaching your toddler to use a safety whistle is another great step to take. These are loud and easy to hear out on the trails. Having a system in place to know when your toddler is lost gives you peace of mind. Beware, your toddler will blow the whistle in the car.

Hiking with Children (5-pre-teen)

Hiking with children offers you the ability to give them more independence. At this age you can begin to teach basic map reading as well as the leave no trace rules.

Giving children independence on the trail can be as easy as letting them hike a little bit ahead or even going out of sight of mom and dad on the trail. Scary as this thought is, it will be great for their confidence as well as your confidence in them.

The kids can start participating in the planning as well as the prep for the hike or the backpacking trip if it is longer than one day. They can pick places to go, routes to hike, and trails to try. They can pack their own hiking pack with their snacks and water bladder. You may even let them lead the hike!

At this age you may want to try geo-caching to keep them engaged on longer hikes. Or go low tech and scavenger hunt. Look for certain wildlife, plants, creeks, and rocks.

Point out obstacles for your children to conquer. Crossing streams, climbing rocks, and balancing on fallen logs will keep them engaged and enjoying the hike.

This is the age where the kids really want to explore and go off trail. These are great passive teaching moments. Let them explore. This will keep them engaged and interested in the hike.

Start teaching basic map reading. You can start with a trail map and work your way to topo maps as they get more advanced.

Now What

First, don’t get discouraged. The Kallin family thru-hiked the Appalachian trail with their two kids so a few mile hike for the rest of us should be simple enough.

Second, have a ton of fun. When hiking with family or children it is about the journey as well as the destination. Have fun with it. Climb those rocks and trees, swing from a branch, play I spy, and look for wildlife.

Third, be safe. Don’t do dumb things, you have to take care of those kids both at home and on the trail. That’s hard to do if you’re hurt or dead.

Fourth, Hike often. While hiking every once in awhile is ok, it is much better to get out their often. You will be surprised by how much you and your children enjoy it.


Do you have any tips or tricks with hiking for your kids? We would love to hear about it. Comment below and come join our liberty parents facebook page or follow us on twitter!