Gifts for family resilience

Christmas is here and I am trying to avoid cramming last minute shopping for gifts. I would like the gifts to have long term meaning for me and my family. Aaand since I encourage my family to live a better lifestyle-I am always looking for gifts that will lead us to resiliency . Here are some cool ideas for both parents and kids. Please note I have not tried out all of these, but they are some ideas I am considering for my own family.

For the kids:

  1. $$ A subscription to kid activities that will entertain and educate them. Some products that come to mind are and Both these sites provide you with a kit that teaches you about science and technology.chromatography_current
  2. $$ Select apps that will educate your kids. We have Toca Builders and Minecraft-both allow my son to create in a 3D world. I plan to supplement this and increase my sons spatial skills
  3. $$ Ebooks-these are great for bedtime stories and road trips. Be selective and find stories that inspire critical thinking and problem solving.
  4. $$ Legos are always good as it helps kids imagine and build. However, sometimes their excitement for these have already worn out and you might need to raise the bar to the next one-which just might mean….
  5. $$ Robot kits-be age appropriate or you will be dealing with a few tantrums. There are options as to how complex the kit is. Some start from the smallest pieces (like Lego EV3 robots) and some have bigger pre-assembled parts. Most kits allow some type of programming, and all kits come with instructions(Hooray!)robot-kits-for-adults
  6. $$ A martial arts class that will focus on character building, respect and discipline. Some parents are wary of martial arts class for kids because of potential damage to their softer bones, but there are options. Most kids are interested in martial arts at an early age-mostly from movies and cartoons. It would be good to channel that interest into something productive. They may make friends and learn respect and discipline.
  7. $$ BB gun-if you feel comfortable and if your kids are old enough you might consider a bb gun. Use this to teach them about gun safety and respect for the tool. It will encourage being in the outdoors and teach the value and results of practicing. If your kids are younger, consider lower powered bb guns (check the “feet per second” or “fps” on the box) If your kids are younger still, maybe a Nerf gun is appropriatered-rider-daisy-tin-1000-web
  8. $$ Books are also a great option and some focus on topics that promote resilience. You will need to be selective to find the right book. Most sites provide book reviews to help you. Perhaps you can find books that help deal with frustrations, facing challenges or learning new things.

For the lady of the house:

  1. $$ Martial arts classes – We have been planning on my wife getting martial arts classes, this way she can start it in January after the holidays (this works for the man of the house too. I am mainly listing it here because I’ve had some already and my wife is next in line to get some training.) She was always hesitant to this until we went to an all woman’s starter self defense class. The sensei was very informative and gave actionable ideas which got her interested.
  2. $$$ If we had the money we would get her CCW permit-then again this is not restricted to Christmas. This for us is really more of a budget issue than it is a timing issue.
  3. $$$ Bike, running shoes or exercise gadgets (a Fitbit)to get her started on her exercise routine. Sometimes people are looking to start new things and need a push, an excuse or inspiration.surge-2016-0fd2880053305928cdaf399527734bcf
  4. $$ My wife likes to knit and sew, a gift card to one of her favorite hobby stores is a good idea. It puts her in the creative mood and it always comes back to the home. The idea is to nurture a productive hobby. I find that this is sometimes better (and easier) than getting her an actual item from that store-unless I really know what she is looking for.
  5. $$ An online class-there are month long classes and there are mini-classes. The price range varies, but there are classes for just about anything. You can find some cool classes on sites like Skillshare, or if you have a profession she is already interested in you can check those out also.
  6. $$ A dutch oven might be a good idea if the lady loves to cook. It lets you experiment with a whole new set of recipes and later on is an alternative way to cook without your oven.flamedutchoven
  7. $$ to $$$ Gardening supplies for spring-never too early to plan for that spring garden. These can be tools, seeds, trees or even a bird bath to encourage habitat.
  8. $$ An indoor herb planter-it skips the slow stage of starting up an herb garden but lets you jump right in to learning to use and appreciate the herbs you have. Stick to some herbs you know you are likely to use.


For the man of the house(I will try to not go crazy on my wish list):

  1. $$$ Additional firearms training (this works for the lady of the house too)
  2. $$ Gardening supplies for spring. In my case, this would be an irrigation system, but this varies. Mom has her list and so do I.847976f2-9565-4ff8-a585-fb56bdaae6a1_1000
  3. $$ Credits for audiobooks for learning new things-Audiobooks have been a great source of learning for me. I like books, but due to time restraints I have moved to audiobooks which allow me to listen to them during my daily commute.
  4. $$ Outdoor cooking gear – a camping stove and propane tank. This doesn’t need to be the latest charbroil high end grill+smoker combo. But if you don’t have an alternative way to cook other than an indoor stove, this might be a great add to your home. It brings everyone out of the house and sparks a time to bond over a  meal. (Obviously using this will need to wait til the weather gets warmer) This is also a great backup if your house relies on electricity for cooking. In the event of a blackout, you will be able to save the food in your fridge and still stick to your diet.
  5. $$ Powertools! I almost forgot but this is always a good option if the husband is inclined to building. Sometimes, the tools are just fun to use that it gives you an excuse to try to build something.61pwvgiefkl-_sl1500_
  6. $$$ A First aid class (basic or advanced). Everyone should know CPR and ways to treat wounds. Usually the schedule for this needs to be worked out, but with some planning it an be done. A budget to build your own kit is also useful.
  7. $$$ A good self defense knife-having a knife is a given in my opinion. It gives you options in a defensive situation. Hopefully you will never need to use it, but if you ever do it should be reliable.
  8. $$ A small utility knife-sometimes your self defense knife is just not worth cutting up packaging and gummying it up with tape. A utility knife can be one that fits into your keychain or can be a neck knife.
  9. $$ Bread maker – if the man likes to cook, perhaps a bread maker is a good option. It reduces the mess and makes baking bread a bit more convenient.


Some of the items listed are not very exciting-like the audiobooks for example. But, as they purchase the books through the course of weeks, they will be glad to have those credits. The benefits will be long lasting and is really a way to invest in one’s self.
If you have noticed, some of the ideas are not specific. These are not gadget specific gifts, these offer more of an idea on what gift types can promote learning, improving oneself or gain a new skill. The ideas are also interchangeable between mom and dad depending on interests or current skills.
Also, livestock did not make it in the list. I mean, winter is just a bad time for starting it anyway right?
If you have other suggestions or gifts you wish your spouse thought of, please feel free to post it below. I can definitely update the list as I know I probably missed some really good ideas.

Finding a website name and getting a site up under $50


I have been going back and forth on what to name the blog, as I get closer to doing an actual website. Just some quick notes on researching key words, setting up the site and trying to make it easy to find on searches. I plan to run the site under a $50 a year budget.

Godaddy domain name = $35 for 2 years
hosting = approx $10 per year


Learning to validate a business for newbie entrepreneur

Brain dump of things learned today

Listened to Noah Kagan (Appsumo) as he coaches his students on the Monthly1k course how to validate their business. I have spent a lot of time making a product and not knowing earlier if the business was valid or not. With his videos I am understanding how to validate first, before spending much time on a product.

Here is a link to one of their sessions:

Also, kind of explain why I keep blabbering about how I am starting a business, when the blog is supposed to be all about having a resilient family. Basically, because the future needs us to be all entrepreneurs. I need to get out of a 9 to 5 job so I can work on the things that really matter.

RESILIENT DAD: Daily vlog 16.08.20


Updates for Aug 20 2016:
-Planters for produce is ongoing
-Mention restarting the urban farm
-benefits of the urban farm as a small business and as a tool to understand business
-Preparing my child for school by taking a rainy Saturday morning walk, using it to teach him to appreciate a good jacket, to learn how to find directions and to cross the street safely.
-Looking for a martial arts approach to integrate with a firearm.
-Learning to cook new recipes, cooking as a skill that needs to be developed

Mental white noise

I was focusing yesterday on finding some kind of mental white noise. What happens sometimes is I listen to a series of podcasts/videos while at the office and I get saturated with information. Some are actionable and some are conceptual. At some point my mind gets bogged down and I don’t always realize it but I end up wanting to stare empty into space and zone out. These are times I try contemplate/meditate and make plans. Me feeling like I want to zone out, is actually my brain telling me he is tired and signaling me to stop using him. To accommodate this rest and jumpstart my head, I am trying to find this mental white noise-be it a place to meditate or a state of being. Hopefully it is a place I can designate as a neutral physical space and train my mind to assign this place as a time to power down.

I continue to carry a gun using this holster I am still testing. I am in a weird state as I carry it loaded but not cocked. I guess it is an extra precaution as I get used to the fact that I am carrying a gun on my person. The holster has had issues and I am trying to figure out where and when I can test it. For example I checked how hard it would be to draw from a car seat.

Progress update:
Book-drew entire story board early this morning approx midnight.
Blog-still contemplating format. Must be actionable for myself and others-not just me blabbering. Must also document my progress in a concise manner.Children’s story-every night I tell my son a story. Sometimes a real story sometimes it is a micro lesson on all kinds of stuff. Yesterday it happened to be how the election process works. Told him about voting and how America currently has 3 folks still running in this contest. No specifics, no heavy stuff, just how the thing is supposed to work.

Getting ready to garden again

We are getting ready to garden again this fall. We are not planting anything yet, but I am getting my soil ready. We tried planting on the ground on my first year here in Texas. I learned real fast that I should not do that. The soil is all clay, and even with my excuse for a raised bed and soil amendments my plants did not thrive. I picked a spot that was too hot and had no shade. (Dang plant guide said full sun). I watched 2 or 3 seasons of my tomatoes and basil just burn.

This season, I am trying it again but will be wiser. We are planting them into plant boxes. This way I can relocate them to shade and I can better control it. I plan to include pest protection and season extensions too. By this I mean some kind of hoop structure with shade or screening.

This project is on a tight budget ($30) so I am going real cheap on the planter but will focus on irrigation and automation. For the first part, we built the planter this past weekend. I am happy to say that we did a lot (me and my 5 yo son) in under 2 hours. We were not accurate and craftsman-ish. But we gathered scrap wood from previous projects. We reused our neighbor’s old fencing. (He had put in new ones after hail damage). Cut and hammered away pretty fast to build this planter.


Here’s my son marking up the fence to the right size. This was also a good education for him. He learned to check things before grabbing it-so he knows to look for nails and other sharp objects on the fence. He also got to exercise math while measuring.

The next part is to cut the rest of the fences. I may cheat and cut these on weeknights. The goal is to build it so my wife can participate by painting it. We sourced some free paint from the city recycling center. Once painted, I need to put in any compost and soil I have in there. I will then cover it with a tarp or other material and just let it rest til we plant in the fall.

Also need to get some seeds planted so I can start them indoors. I plan to spend the bulk of my $30 in some irrigation eqpt. I don’t think that is even enough to buy the timer, but we’ll check for prices on that and get a better understanding of what needs to be purchased.