I enjoyed Revelations of a Homeschooling Mom by Carol Wanagel which was first printed in Home Education Magazine in 1995.  Check it out.  These are the same kind of views of have on schooling.
 
For anyone who has not heard of the dangers of silver filings, here you go.  I know I have at least two in my mouth.  My children will not have any, even though my first dentist pushed for them.  Their dentist now does not use silver anymore.  I would like to have mine removed someday, but will wait till I am done with having babies and nursing so there is no chance to pass on any extra mercury during the removal.
 
I came across a couple vaccines surveys today, one is for children who have never been vaccinated and one is to report if you have a vaccine injured child.  If you have time, take a couple minutes to do this.  You will need to do one for each child.  Once the never been vaccinated survey is closed, the results will be sent out.  These come from a website called www.vaccineinjury.info.  Take a look around.
 
A study was done to look at the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) for 34 countries and then examined with the number of routine vaccines given to infants in those countries.  They did find a correlation between higher IMR in countries where the number of routine vaccines given were higher.  There is a lot more in this study than this information, such as information on SIDS and preterm births but I am not going to go into all of that.  I just wanted to put this out there for anyone interested in the information and they can review it for themselves.
 
I wanted to share this interview with now grown unschooler Kate Fridkis given by Home Education Magazine.  I love these kinds of stories to see what can become of a childhood where someone is allowed to follow their own passions and to see where it leads them in life.

I wanted to share a few things that Kate had to say:

"As an unschooler, I never felt unattractive. In fact, I felt smokin' hot and like every boy I met was probably going to fall at my feet. And why not? No one ever told me I shouldn't feel that way. But in college, and in Manhattan especially, I felt like the whole world was telling me I had no right to feel sexy."

and

"OK, so, here's the thing: Everyone is weird. Like, really. Absolutely everyone is weird. If you're not weird because you were homeschooled, you will definitely end up being weird for another reason. We should all try to get over the idea that being different is bad. This would solve a lot of the world's problems."

and

"We don't have twelve years of experience sitting in chairs all day, looking at a grownup at the front of the room. We are made weird by virtue of not having the same type of childhoods that most people have. But look at the childhoods we have instead! I mean, let's get real, we have what every other kid wishes they had. And by that I mean lunch whenever we feel like it and no homework."

Kate has two blogs Eat the Damn Cake and Un-schooled.  
 
The basics of what liberty is all about.
 
I thought this was a good video to help teach money, banks, and the FED.  It uses cartoon format and humor to try to keep your attention.  In less than 30 min, you will get a pretty good wrap up of how it all works together.  The end is a bit dark, so before showing to children, be sure to view it yourself.

 
There is this idea that keeps popping up lately that if something seems like a good idea to you, and it seems to be good for the general welfare of the country, then it is okay for the our US Federal Government to pass laws making it so or helping out that cause.  A couple years ago, I would have agreed with those statements.  But then I read the US Constitution, the supreme law of the land, and found that lo and behold, it does not give our Federal Government a blank check to do whatever it wants in the name of the general welfare as many would have you believe.

What seems to be happening is, in the first part of Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution it says:

        The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States: but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

Many will read this and say it says right here that the Federal Government is to provide for the general welfare of the country.  The problem is, they are only reading the introduction to the section instead of the section as a whole.  If they would continue on, what they would find is that the framers of the Constitution took the time to list out all of these areas of defense and general welfare the Federal government has powers over.  I will not list them all here because they are lengthy, but if you go take a look, you will see the list of defense and general welfare items the first part of the section was referring to.  For example it lists items like coining money, establishing post offices and post roads, declaring war, and providing and maintaining a navy.  Nowhere does it mention anything regarding health or healthcare or many other areas our Federal Government involves itself in like education.

And because they knew governments always try to gain more power than they are given, based on the history of man, they added in Amendment X, which says:

        The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, or prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

They wanted to make sure, in case the Federal Government was at all confused about what their powers were, they would be reminded their powers were limited by what is stated in the Constitution and the rest is to be left to the states or the people.  Is it not clear that any power that is not specifically given to the Federal Government by the Constitution, is not in their power for them to legislate on?  If the Federal Government had unlimited power over anything considered in the general welfare, then what would be left to the states and the people?

So, let me give you an example of one of the situations that has come up lately which prompted this blog article.  I am a big supporter of breastfeeding.  I not only think it is the natural thing to do, I also think it provides unseen health protections to a child and allows for greater bonding for the child and parent among other benefits, so I also believe it is in the general welfare of the country for people to choose this option when possible.  Rep. Michelle Bachmann has come under attack lately for sharing her view that the Federal Government should not be providing for or making laws regarding breastfeeding, as it is not in their powers.  Specifically, she disagrees with tax breaks for breastpumps.  This is seen by many as an attack on breastfeeding, even though she supports breastfeeding and nursed her 5 children.

I support her views that our Federal  Government should not be making laws supporting or taking away from breastfeeding.  Nowhere is health listed as a power of the Federal Government,  and even though it may be seen by many to be in the general welfare of the country, it still is not in the Federal Governments powers to do anything about it.  But what about all the federal departments that have been set up regarding health and studying health related topics?  Yep, nowhere in the Constitution have we given the Federal Government the power to take our tax money and spend it on anything health related.  These are powers the Federal Government is taking unconstitutionally that are to be left to the states or the people to decide on.

Many will say breastfeeding is in the general welfare of the country and as I stated above, I agree.  But that still does not change the law of the land and the enumerated powers we give to the Federal Government.  If we break the law in one area because we feel a cause is noble or worthy, what if someone comes along later and breaks it to do something they deem noble and worthy but you disagree with it?  As an example, what if someone comes along and feels our population is growing too fast and we need to limit births to one child per couple?  There are people out there who do believe this and they would suggest it is in the general welfare of this country to keep our population down because we are going to run out of resources if we keep growing our population like this.  So, using the general welfare clause, they pass a law limiting births to 1 child per couple.

The point is, you can't just ignore the law because it is something you personally find to be a noble cause and say you are okay with the government doing it.  You also can't ignore the law because they have ignored it in the past on so many other things.  You have to take the law as it is, and when you come up with an idea you think is great, you look to the law first to see if it is in the Federal Governments powers before you decide they need to pass a law in this area.  If they do not have the power, then you can look to your state or local government.  But, better yet, look to yourself.  More on that later.

Many say it doesn't matter that there are powers listed in the Constitution because the Constitution provides that the Federal Government can do anything it deems to be in the general welfare of our country.  But who decides this and aren't there varying opinions on most issues. Many say the Constitution is ever changing as the people and society are changing and therefore the Constitution is a living document.  I must ask, how many laws in this country are interpreted as living documents?  None.  They are meant to stand as written, unless society determines a change is needed and they will then make an amendment to the law.  This is the same with our US Constitution.  It is the supreme law of the land (Article VI) and can only be changed by amendment.  So, at some point if the people determine they want to see the Federal Government deal in areas of health, then they would amend the Constitution to add that power into the list with three fourths of the states needed to ratify it (Article V).

The Constitution also states in Article IV, Section 4:

    The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government,  

A Republican form of Government is one where there is rule by law, not by the majority, which is what a Democracy form of government is.  The reason for this is that they wanted to protect minority rights.  With this, federal legislators on a whim could not go and enact a law that would hurt the minority because the Constitution would not allow for it unless it was in one of the areas  the Federal Government had powers over, but even then they had to hold to the individual's rights.  The Federal Government was meant to be a limited government with a few main functions which are relations between the states, relations with other countries, and most importantly the protection of our individual rights.  The point here being that our Federal Government has to hold to the Constitution in order to guarantee a republican form of government.  It cannot interpret the law however it sees fit.  If must follow it as it is written or change it by amendment otherwise they would not be following the law.

If something like breastfeeding is truly in the general welfare of the country, and the Federal Government can't do anything about it, what is to be done?  The People step up and take on causes  they deem are important.  They start organizations to promote their causes.  They have fundraisers to raise money.  They run ad campaigns to get their message out.  They persuade people to their cause based on their passion and they appeal to people's logic and reason.  They make their case and let others decide for themselves.  People join the cause or give money because they feel driven to do so and they are happy to help or because it makes sense in their life.  They are not forced to give to a cause because the federal government says  a particular cause is worthy of our tax dollars.

So the next time you decide the government needs to take up a certain cause, once you have looked to the Constitution and determined it is not in the Federal Governments power to deal in that area, you should consider looking to yourself for solutions.  Consider donating time or money to causes that you see worthy.  Spend your money on items that promote your cause such as buying organic if you feel this is worthy.  Changes come because people have decided that they should come.  If a government tries to force a change, you will automatically have resistance just by the nature of the way people are.  People want to do the right thing of their own free will, not be forced to do it.  Governments can take years to push through legislation because of all the resistance that is caused.  People can make changes in their own communities and even the whole nation when they realize they have the power to encourage support by others.

This interview with Daniel Quinn shows how just changing your approach for advancing your cause can have great benefits when you don't rely on government to do it for you.  If you read this interview all the way through, I think you will see what happens when an idea becomes political.  You create two sides fighting each other and not much gets done in the meantime.  There are other ways to go about promoting your cause.  Our founders knew all this and tried to limit government as much as possible and allow everything else be handled by the people because they knew this was the best way.

I encourage everyone to read over the Constitution at least once so you are familiar with what is in it.  Keep a pocket constitution on hand for when you need a quick reference.  You can get one free from the Heritage Foundation.  If you have an android phone, there is a free Constitution app called United States Constitution that you can download which also includes other historical documents for quick reference.   In addition to all this, when election time comes, look for people who know the Constitution and will uphold it.  Look to those who will try to repeal unconstitutional laws so that we get our government out of areas that it has not been given power over.  

I hope this helps many to see that someone can be passionate about a cause but also understand the Constitution and its limits.  And to realize it is in everyone's best interest to hold up the rule of law.

 
I came across some information the other day on how you can use a pressure canner to store meat.  This allows the meat to last for at least 3 years and it comes out tasting really good and "fall off the bone" in the way it behaves.  Also, most appealing to me was how easy it is to can meat.  One of the easiest is with chicken breast.  You put the raw chicken breast into the jar with some canning salt, put on the lid, and then follow the directions that come with your canner to properly pressure seal it.  That is it.

After much consideration, I just purchased the Fagor 9 piece pressure canning set from Amazon for under $100 (which is about $20 less than it was a week ago).  This is stainless steel vs the aluminum that many canners are, but that is likely because it is also a pressure cooker and I doubt you want to be cooking in aluminum.  It comes with all the different tools that you will likely need to do your canning.  While this one is smaller (10 quart) than many of the other canners out there, I think it will be perfect for a starter canner so I don't get too overwhelmed with its size.  If I find that I am going to really get into massive amounts of canning I will look into purchasing a bigger canner.  So, now all I need to do is wait for my canner to arrive, get some jars with lids, and figure out what I want to can.

Along this journey of learning to can meat, I came across Wendy DeWitt's Food Storage Seminar.  You can watch her video series to learn her system for food storage.  She believes everyone should have enough food in storage to be able to feed your family for 1 year.  She explains why and how to go about it in her videos and in her document Everything Under the Sun.  It can be found on her website www.everythingunderthesunblog.blogspot.com or by emailing her directly at wdewitt22@gmail.com which is what I did so that I would be able to print it off easily if I want to.

I will try to sum the main part of her system up quickly.  You need to pick recipes for 7 breakfasts and 7 dinners (or 14 if you want more variety) and record them on note cards.  You will take the ingredients from these and multiply them by 52 to give you the food you would need to feed your family for a year (this does not include the extras like desserts and baked goods that you might want to make extra).  She shows you have to go about documenting all this in a notebook.  She teaches you how to store the food, how long it can be stored for, how to rotate it, how to cook it, and much more.  Did I mention that she provides all this for free just because she wants everyone to have the information.  She does not sell anything!

Hopefully this will give you some ideas to ponder.  I'm not sure how far I will go with this.  Only time will tell. 

Just wanted to add on that there are only 3 of these canners that I got left in stock and the price just went down again.  So, if you are at all looking into getting this particular one for this low price, I would move quickly on it.


 
I thought this was pretty funny and gave a pretty good overview of the debate over vaccines.