a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Friday, November 30, 2012

What If. . . ALL You Had Was What You Had on Hand?

Emergencies of all kinds that disrupt many or all things can happen anywhere at anytime without much or any warning!  

Dave and I have been involved with helping people with preparedness for over 40 years but there is always something to learn. 

The following is making the Internet rounds following Hurricane Sandy on the east coast of the United States. If you haven't read it, it is worth a read. 

If you are not prepared for emergencies please look over this article. If you think you are prepared, please look over this article. 

Additionally, you may want to check out my posts under the What If . .  . ?  heading  for basic information on the whys, whats, and hows of gathering some basics to have on hand. Most are simple and inexpensive --- and there may come a time when they are irreplaceable and priceless.

My thanks to Frantz Ostmann  for taking the time to share his discoveries with others. 

Sent: Tue, Nov 20, 2012 2:28 pm
Subject: Things learned from Hurricane Sandy

Things that I learned from Hurricane Sandy
by Frantz Ostmann <http://www.facebook.com/frantz.ostmann>  on Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 7:13am ·
1. The excitement and coolness wears off around day 3
2. You are never really prepared to go weeks without power, heat, water etc. Never!
3. Yes it can happen to you.
4. Just because your generator runs like a top, does not mean its producing electricity.
5. If you do not have water stored up you are in trouble.
a. A couple of cases of bottled water is “NOT” water storage
6. Should have as much fuel as water
a. Propane
b. Gas
c. Kerosene
d. Firewood
e. Firestarter, (kindling, paper, etc)
7. Even the smallest little thing that you get from the store should be stocked up.. (spark plug for the generator, BBQ lighter, etc)

8. If you are not working, chances are nobody else is either.
9. I was surprised how quickly normal social behavior goes out the window. I am not talking about someone cutting in line at the grocery store.
a. 3 people were killed at gas stations within 50 miles of my home.
b. I did not say 3 fights broke out, 3 people were killed.
10. Cash is king (all the money in your savings means nothing)
11. Stored water can taste nasty.
12. You eat a lot more food when you are cold
13. You need more food than you think if your kids are out of school for 2 weeks
14. Kids do not like washing their face in cold water.
15. Your 1972 Honda Civic gets to the grocery store as well as your 2012 Escalade… but the Honda allows money left over for heat, food, water, a generator, fire wood, a backup water pump, you get the idea..
16. The electrical grid is way more fragile than I thought.
17. Think of the things that are your comfort, your escape, a cup of hot chocolate, a glass of milk and a ding dong before bed, tequila, etc. Stock up on those too. You will need that comfort after day 3.
18. You quickly become the guy in the neighborhood who knows how to wire a generator to the electrical panel, directly wire the furnace to a small generator, or get the well pump up and running on inverter power or you are the guy whose Master’s degree in Accounting suddenly means nothing. (Love you Steve!)
19. A woman who can cook a fine meal by candle light over the BBQ or open fire is worth her weight in gold. And women, whose weight in gold, would not add up to much, usually die off first. Sorry skinny women.
20. It takes a lot of firewood to keep a fire going all day and into the evening for heat.
21. All the food storage in the world means nothing if your kids won’t eat it.
22. You might be prepared to take care of your children and their needs, but what about when the neighborhood children start to show up at your door?
23. Some people shut down in an emergency. There is nothing that you can do about that.
24. Your town, no matter how small is entirely dependent on outside sources of everything.
a. If supply trucks stop rolling in due to road damage, gas shortages or anything else you could be without for a long time.
25. In an emergency Men stock up on food, Women stock up on toilet paper.
26. I was surprised how many things run on electricity!
27. You can never have enough matches.
28. Although neighbors can be a great resource, they can also be a huge drain on your emergency storage. You need to know how you are going to handle that. It is really easy to be Bob the guy who shares on Day 3, not so easy on Day 11. Just reality.
29. Give a man a fish he eats for that day, teach a man to fish and he will never be hungry again.. Now I get it.
30. All of the expensive clothes in the closet mean nothing if they don’t keep you warm.
31. Same goes for shoes… Love you Honey!!!!
32. You cannot believe the utility companies. They are run by politicians!! Or so it seems,
33. Anything that you depend on someone else for is not avail anymore.
34. Quote “A man with a chainsaw that knows how to use it is a thing of beauty” hahaha
35. Most folks don’t have any emergency storage. They run to Wal-Mart and get water and batteries and then fill their tubs with water. That is it. A lucky few will get a case of ramen and a box of poptarts. That will be your neighbors supply. (especially if you live outside of Utah)
36. Fathers, all the money you have ever made means nothing if you can’t keep your kids warm.
37. Mothers, everything you have ever done for your kids is forgotten if your kids are hungry.
38. You really do not want to be the “Unprepared Parents” The kids turn on you pretty quick.
39. Small solar charging gadgets will keep you in touch. Most work pretty well it seems.
40. Most things don’t take much power to operate.
a. Computers,
b. Phones
c. Radios
d. TV
e. lights
41. Some things take a ton of power to operate.
a. Fridge
b. Toaster
c. Freezer
d. Hot plate
e. Microwave
42. When it gets dark at 4:30 pm the nights are really long without power.
43. Getting out of the house is very important. Even if it is cold. Make your home the semi warm place to come home to.. not the cold prison that you are stuck in.
44. Someone in your family must play or learn to play guitar.
45. Things that disappeared never to be seen again for a very long time.
a. Fuel, of all kinds
b. Matches, lighters of any kind etc.
c. Toilet paper
d. Paper plates, plastic forks and knives
e. Batteries, didn’t really see a need for them. (flashlights??? I guess)
f. Milk
g. Charcoal
h. Spark plugs (generators)
i. 2 stroke motor oil, (chainsaws)
j. Anything that could be used to wire a generator to the house.
k. Extension cords
l. Medicines (Tylenol, advil, cold medicine etc)
46. There was a strange peace to knowing all I had to do each day was keep my family safe, warm, and fed, but my peace was someone else’s panic.
There were also many things that were not learned from hurricane Sandy, but reinforced. Those things were the importance of my family and their love and support, especially my lovely wife, that my Heavenly Father is really in charge, period, and finally that I am very thankful for the upbringing and experiences that have taught me and brought me to where I am .. Wherever that is…hahahaha..
God Bless!!!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Our Family's Simple End of Year Traditions

I have mentioned family traditions in several recent posts.

Traditions can revolve around many occasions or maybe even non-official occasions, but Christmas and New Years really lend themselves to their creation.

My growing-up family had three. Even thought they were never discussed or even mentioned as tradition  they were a regular part of our Christmas and their impact has stayed with me all these many years.

Memories are priceless

Today, as I write them, I have realized for the first time that they all revolved around my dad.

1. He made egg nog from scratch.  It was really, really rich---and I have never been able to duplicate it.

2.He had the ornament from his first Christmas --- a tiny glass bugle (he was born on an Army post) and he was the one that hung it on the tree each year, even when it became tattered and battered and even taped. After his death, by a drunk driver, when he was 81 years old my mother sent it to me --- a most prized possession --- and now our family insists I am the only one to hang it.

3. He passed out our presents, one at a time, as we sat around the tree Christmas morning ---- each one watching one another as they opened their gifts.

Most traditions don't start out as such. . .

Measuring Up

From the time each child could stand up we measured their height on January 1st.  Years later we started adding our grandchildren's. We marked their names and the year directly on the wall. When we moved we carefully transferred the information to a long sheet of paper, and painted the wall. At our new home we would tape the paper to the wall, and with the help of a ruler, rewrite the measurments.

If you rent, move often, or if writing on the wall is not your style, you could make a hanging growth chart. A heavy non-woven fabric interfacing (like Pellon) is durable and you can write on it. 

Years ago, after our kids had started having theirs,  I came across fabric printed as a colorful grow chart. I bought the material, narrowly hemmed the bottom, and made a deeper hem in the top  (enough so a curtain rod or length of dowel would slide through it for hanging).

I made one for each of their families----transferring the information from our wall to their wall hanging. Their children really liked to see how they measured up to their parents.

Loading Up . . .

on the snacks and goodies! I didn't cook on New Year's Day but we sure never went hungry. I squirreled away many of the candies and food gift-packs we receive as gifts during the season and prepared everything else beforehand. 

Usually the week between December 25 and January 1 is pretty slow, at least in comparison to the previous week, so this was easy to do. I didn't worry about the nutritional balance of the menu. I put all the food out on the table early in the afternoon, along with paper plates and cups. From there, it was up to them. They ate whenever hungry, although graze was probably a more accurate term---during half times or time outs of the televised football games. 

But, for them, no matter how good the food or how exciting the various bowl games, the highlight of the day was something --- you probably won't want to do at home --- I had to include here.

Teaming Up. . .

for their own football game.

A page from my 1996 bookette "Help! for the Overworked Mom"

Young Families:  I am sure there are many things that you do in your own family that will become traditions and treasured memories as the years go by.  And trust me, the time goes by faster than you can imagine.