Why I don’t give my kids allowance

I grew up in a house where Friday was chore day.  We took turns in each room and never got an allowance for that work.  At 16 I got a job,  and started paying for things myself.  At 18, I lived on my own,  with my own car payment,  apartment rent,  and credit cards.  

What I learned from that is how to appreciate what I had,  what I bought,  and it instilled a good work ethic in me. 

Today with my own five kids, Friday is chore day, or deep cleaning day if you will. They each have assigned rooms,  and in any given month they only clean each room once.  

Now you might be thinking,  “if they have chores shouldn’t they be getting a  allowance?”  My answer is no. These are chores they have to contribute to the family. The bathrooms,  the kitchen,  the living room — all rooms they make messes in.  

Now,  this is not to say my kids can’t EARN money by doing things around the house not included in weekly chores.   My fourteen-year-old regularly helps me in the yard and earns money that way. Yesterday my ten-year-old wanted extra money to buy a case for the tablet that I purchased for her. So she decided to help bleach the grout in the kitchen that needed to be done desperately.

My thoughts are not giving them allowance for these weekly chores comes from the fact that it is still a weekly battle to get them to do things and do them correctly.  It is my job as a parent to prepare my kids for adult life.  If a manager had to reprimand my children like I do…THEY WOULD BE FIRED!  

While yes, I take into consideration their ages with what my expectations are,  a 7th grader and freshman in high school should be able to complete tasks correctly.  As should my senior in high school, as he is actually old enough to HAVE a job.  

Now, my two older boys do a good job at this point.  However, even for these weekly chores I still do not give them monetary allowance. Rather they get allowance in cell phones,  rides to friends’ houses, and trips to numerous places for fun…all at my expense. 

I feel if they want more,  they should DO more. Pull some weeds,  paint the deck,  scrub the kitchen fan which has started growing things.  Earn it.  Learn a new task.  Grow your work ethic.  Become more productive.  Life doesn’t have hand outs.  

And that is why my kids do not get an allowance! 

Cherry Wood Smoked Chicken

I’m not one to eat meat on bones, so to make a whole chicken was a new experience for me.  But, with this smoker my husband bought for me this past Christmas, it was my goal to smoke at least one meal a week.

I was hosting a quiet Saturday night bonfire with a few family and friends and decided to throw dinner together as well.  I figured whole chicken would not only be delicious, but affordable.  These chickens were around $5.00 a piece at Aldi, and that wasn’t even on sale!  Perfect for a large group without breaking the bank.

So here’s the trick to making the perfect smoked chicken — Brine it first!  I brined both of these chickens in a cooler with water, garlic powder, sugar, and salt.  This step is great for any poultry.  I have brined turkeys and it makes for the best and most tender meat.  One thing to be sure to add is ice, I didn’t have the ability to put this in the fridge so I added the ice to keep the correct temperature.

After the chicken brines over night, take it out and pat it down with paper towels to dry it off.  I did A LOT of research on how to smoke a chicken and what I found is that the skin tends to become rubbery.  I found a way around this…butter. For that crispy skin I achieved in the picture, I melted butter and then added my spices to create a wet rub.  I added a lot of paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, sugar, salt, and pepper.  That was it.  I wish I could tell you the amounts but to be honest, I have been cooking long enough I don’t measure.  I do it by eye balling and we like our seasoning so I tend to be heavy handed.  I can tell you I did about the same amount of paprika as the rest of the spices combined.

Now, as far as the smoker…I have found that my electric smoker tends to cook whatever I put in there faster than the recommended time.  Instead of cooking the chicken at 225 degrees as recommended, I set it at 195 for the first few hours.  The trick to a smoker is low and slow so I lowered the temp a little.  I used cherry wood, which gave a great flavor.  After the internal temp hit 140 I turned the smoker up to 205 for an hour and then 225 for the final hour.  This is because the meat hit a plateau, which means it gets “stuck” at the same temp for longer than any other temp.  Raising that temp up allowed it to get past that in time for my guests!  The changing of temps may not be necessary for you or your smoker, but because my smoker tends to cook faster than it should I have adjusted for it.

Once the meat got to it’s correct internal temp of 165 I pulled it out and let it rest (as you should do for pretty much all meat) for 15 minutes.  Now I will tell you I pulled those chickens out and put them on a cookie sheet.  The skin on the top was nice and crispy but the bottom was soggy.  So, I will put a cookie cooling rack on top of the cookie sheet to keep that more crisp next time.

After you let it rest…DIG IN!!!  This was so tender, juicy, and gone in a few minutes!

One trick I can tell you is to use the carcasses (gosh that sounds gross) to make your own chicken stock.  I took both and threw them in the crock pot with a little water, a chopped onion, and that was it.  The flavor of the smoke comes through really well into the stock. I actually used my stock tonight to make a goat cheese risotto and you could really taste that smoke!  It paired really well with the smoked pork tenderloin that was for dinner tonight!

Hopefully this will encourage you to go out and try some new recipes yourself!

All About My Blog

Hello blog readers!  This is my new blog about life.  Why about life?  Well, let me tell you a little about myself.  I am a wife, the mother of five children, a certified teacher, an actress and model, and a bartender.  I also love to cook, grill, and smoke (in a smoker only–just to be clear!) new recipes.  I am an avid gardener, I spend a ton of time scrapbooking my children’s lives, and I am a DIY queen (for both hosting parties and redoing things in my house).  I Pinterest all the time, and turn those pins into NAILED IT successes.  

Now you see the problem!  I couldn’t decide WHAT to blog about, so I will blog about numerous topics, for people with kids, for people without kids, for people who love to cook, and those who want to but don’t know where to start, for those who want to garden, and those who want to host parties.  

So thank you for being a part of my new blog!