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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

#AskAFarmer: A Response to EZChicken


It’s been nearly a month since I first posted about my anger towards Panera Bread.

And it turns out, I’m not the only one who was upset by their EZ Chicken campaign.

DairyCarrie wrote a fantastic blog post that went viral.  She’s even been contacted by the Chief Marketing Officer of Panera because of it. And while Panera has removed some of their offensive images online, they have not completely ditched the campaign.

However, I’m not nearly as angry as I was a month ago.  The truth is, some good has come out of this campaign.

First, farmers have united over this issue.  It’s so great to see dairy farmers, beef cattle ranchers, and row crop farmers supporting the poultry farmers who were targeted in the ad.  I think it shows the pride that all farmers have in their calling.

Second, it has opened up general conversations about food.  I have had real, legitimate questions about food production posted on my blog’s facebook page and my personal facebook wall.  From an uncle asking exactly what the tolerances are for antibiotic residue in meat to a friend who’s a food blogger asking about GMOs, the conversations have been wonderful.

Third, Panera’s campaign has offered us a chance to clear up misconceptions about antibiotics in food, which I’d like to reiterate right now.

1.  There are NO antibiotics in food.  Every single flock is tested for antibiotic residues before being sent to market.  Most antibiotics have a zero-tolerance level, meaning that there can be NO TRACES of the medicines in the animal. (For a complete list of the tolerances for all animals and medications, check out the U.S. National Residue Program here.)

2.  There are strict regulations farmers must follow when using antibiotics.  Strict dosage guidelines, strict withdrawal times, and strict penalties for not following the rules.

3.  Antibiotics are used under the guidance of a veterinarian when they improve animal health.  Farmers have the work of scientists, vets and researchers behind them to tell them when antibiotics should be used or not.

4.  Last but not least…

livestock antibiotics


As a CommonGround volunteer, these conversations excite me.  They are an opportunity for us to do what we do best – talk about our experiences on the farm and answer questions from consumers. 

So let’s keep the momentum going.  As Troy Hadrick said during a presentation on Tuesday, “Don’t ask Google where your food comes from.  Ask a farmer.”  Keep asking questions.  Keep questioning marketing campaigns.  Keep asking farmers where your food comes from.  We are ready to talk to you!


If you have a question, visit the Squaw Creek Facebook page or the CommonGround facebook page and post it, using the hastag #AskAFarmer!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Easy Rainbow Behavior Chart


I don’t know why I haven’t shared this with you before.  I was telling a friend about it and realized it would be a great thing to tell ALL my friends about.  I apologize for not sharing it sooner, because if you have a child who sometimes misbehaves, this could just be the sanity-saver you need.  And if you don’t have a child who sometimes misbehaves, you must not have any children.

rainbow behavior chart

I cannot take credit for this idea.  I learned about it almost 10 years ago, when I worked at an afterschool program for K-6th graders in college, with this amazing friend as my boss.

We had a big “rainbow chart” and used clothespins with each child’s name on it to track their behavior.  Everyday, the kids started on green.  If their behavior was positive, they got to “move up” a color.  Poor behavior meant they had to move down.  We recorded the color they were on at the end of the night, and then they got reward tickets depending on the color.  The tickets were spent on Fridays at our “store.”


This spring, I decided to try using this system at home.  I scribbled some crayon on a piece of paper and then cut off the sides to make a rainbow striped piece of paper.  Then, I painted an “A” for Adam on a simple round magnet, and Boom!  I had a new system to monitor behavior!

Adam started on green everyday after school.  He had the chance to move up by doing certain chores or if I “caught” him being good.  He moved down for various misbehaviors, too.  He and I sat down and listed the biggest misbehaviors I’d be watching for.  This helped him identify what I wanted to see from him.

Adam earned or lost privileges depending on what color he was on.  For example, purple meant he could watch a superhero tv show.  Yellow and orange meant no TV and red meant no computer games.  We also discussed these ahead of time.

preschool behavior chart

It’s important that there is a “reset” time that is consistent everyday.  At the afterschool program, we started at green every afternoon.  At home, you might start at green every morning, but since bedtime was/is a tough time for us, I needed to have consequences for misbehavior then, so whatever color Adam was on when he fell asleep carried over to the next morning.  Instead of “resetting” to green in the morning, we did it after school.  You can adjust this system so it works best for you.


One of the most important things when dealing with behavior challenges is to have a system in place to guide your response. Consistency and following through with consequences can be tough, but a simple system like the Rainbow Chart helps you and your child (or student) know what to expect when misbehavior occurs.  Plus, it also encourages positive behavior.



Like this post?  Pin it!  Then check out Squaw Creek on facebook!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Summertime is a Funner Time


Well, technically, summertime is a more fun time, but that just doesn’t have the same ring to it, now does it?

We’ve been so busy this summer, but most of it has been so FUN!


Father’s Day weekend, we went bowling…

thumbs upkatie and IsaacDaddy & Isaac


and played a bit at the arcade. 


boys at arcadeIMG_5118


We’ve been swimming,





IMG_5239 and playing outside. 


outdoor waterbedIMG_5497brothersbrothers playing

(Giant Outdoor Waterbed Instructions from Utah County Mom)


And on the 4th of July, we played with friends.

sparklersfourth of julyboys

See?  Summertime really is  a funner time!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

How a Messy Mom Cleans: Clean Categorically

 It's time for another Messy Mom post.  (In fact, it's time for this messy mom to clean her house!)

Last time, I shared The 15 Minute Method.  While that is still my favorite way to clean, 15 minutes isn't always enough.  When the house is even more out of control, I break out the big guns and Clean Categorically.
How a Messy Mom Cleans

Clean Categorically
Method: Clean Categorically
How it works: Pick things up in a specified order.
Purpose: To make large areas of the house functional and presentable in a short period of time.

Our clutter tends to fall into 4 different categories:

1.  Garbage
2.  Kitchen stuff
3.  Dirty clothes
4.  Toys

When I clean categorically, I pick up junk in that order.

First - the garbage.  Wrappers, toddler paraphernalia, junk mail, "fluff" the kids tore out of the couch cushions.  You get the idea.

Second - kitchen stuff.  Usually includes sippy cups, water glasses, and empty bowls from the kids' snacks.

Third - dirty clothes.  Are my kids the only ones who seem to shed clothing all over the house?

Fourth - toys.  At this point, I throw all the toys in the ottoman or toy baskets

messy boy's bedroom

clean boy's bedroom

Finally, the room is ready for dusting/vacuuming.  Occasionally there is a stray piece of "stuff" that doesn't fit into one of those categories, and I put that away before moving on.  But usually, those four categories cover it.

I put the categories in the order of least forgivable to most forgivable.  I figure, if someone called to say they were coming over, I'd start with garbage, and if I didn't get all the way to toys, I could just say something like, "The kids have been playing so well today!  I didn't want to interrupt them to clean up the toys!"

Those categories work best for the living room, dining room and kids' bedrooms at my house.  Other rooms might have different categories.  What would your categories be?  Leave some feedback here or on my facebook page. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Why I'm Furious at Panera Bread (and you should be, too!)

Panera has recently switched to antibiotic free chicken.  While I don’t agree with their decision to go antibiotic free, it doesn’t bother me too much.

What infuriates me, then?  The advertising campaign that goes along with it. The EZChicken campaign clearly sends the message that farmers who use antibiotics are lazy.

Puh-leaze.  My farmer is lazy because he gives our poultry antibiotics when they’re sick?  That makes him LAZY?

Farmers, like my husband, work 7 days a week to keep their livestock comfortable and healthy.  They work in all kinds of conditions, from blizzards to extreme heat.  These farmers often work early mornings, late nights and even check on things in the middle of the night if needed.  In addition to the manual labor and time in the barns, farmers are also business managers who have to manage the finances of the farm and they spend countless hours learning the best new management practices and technology.

The decision to use antibiotics is made carefully, with the guidance of veterinarians and decades of research.  The decision is NOT based on laziness or a fear of hard work.  And there are many safeguards in place to make sure that antibiotic use on farms does not negatively affect your food.  Antibiotics have strict withdrawal times (the amount of time it takes for the medicine to leave an animal's body) and flocks are tested for antibiotic residues before they go to market. 

As I've said before, decisions about animal care should be left to the experts - farmers and veterinarians and scientists that work with them.  But as much as I disagree with Panera's choice of antibiotic free chicken, the real problem here is their portrayal of modern farmers.  We should be thanking our farmers for doing one of the hardest jobs in the world, not calling them lazy because of well-informed decisions that promote animal health and welfare.

If Panera's new advertising methods make you angry, let them know!   Leave a comment on the Panera Bread facebook page and share my blog posts about antibiotics so that all those Panera fans know the truth about their shady advertising.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Calling fellow bloggers - help!

I haven't blogged in awhile because of technical difficulties.  Here's the situation...

I blog on blogger, but use a program called Windows Live Writer to actually write my posts.  It makes it sooo much easier and I've been using it for a couple of years.

Well, just over a month ago, my laptop finally bit the dust, so I upgraded to a new one with Windows 8.  Windows Live Writer (blog writing program) doesn't work on Windows 8.  There is supposed to be a "What-you-see-is-what-you-get" blog writer someone on Windows 8, but I can't find it.  Microsoft Word can supposedly connect to a blog account but I can't get mine to work.  I've tried other blog writer/editors and don't like them, so I'm just having a terrible time getting something onto my blog!

When things slow down next month (didn't I say that would happen this month?  How come it never works the way I expect?) I'll be switching to wordpress.  But until that happens, does anyone have a desktop blog editor that they actually like?