Be prepared for a Hurricane with this check list!

In Texas we just experienced, or for some Texans it is more like survived, Hurricane Harvey, the devastation is unreal and will leave its mark in the history books. It humbles me to see how we can come together, neighbors and strangers. Now we look over to Florida who is the target of Hurricane Irma! Stay safe and prayers for you, protect yourself and family – be prepared as much as you can!

hurricane flood

If you find that you are in the path of a hurricane, what do you do to prepare? What CAN you do to prepare yourselves and your belongings. There is always a rush right before the storm hits where you will find the stores are running out of basics, most likely water will go first. What I think a lot of people tend to forget to prepare for is AFTER the hurricane comes and goes – bottled water is still gone, the grocery’s shelves are still going to be partially empty and it may be a while before the next shipment comes to stock the store.

Best case scenario is your house and neighborhood held up and was saved from any major destruction, maybe you lost power for half a day – again, best case. Maybe you are ordered to evacuate just to come back DAYS after the storm and waters have receded (maybe) to find you have lost everything. Now your immediate concerns are where will you sleep, find clean and dry clothes and food for your family after you just weathered the storm in a shelter with other families in the same position as you. Then it’s what will you do about your belongings, ripping out carpet and throwing away dirty water-soaked mattresses, calling your insurance company (along with everyone else – it will be a while). This is where having a plan and being prepared helps too.

Safety is important, your house and belongings can be replaced – never put yourself in harm’s way if it can be avoided. So many horror stories of people who drowned in their car or home because they waited too long and time ran out to leave safely.

Consider getting a 5 gallon plastic bin, or smaller if you need, to put a majority of these basic items in before hurricane season starts and you don’t have to scramble.

hurricane kit

Hurricane Basic Check List

  1. Water – One gallon per person per day for at least 3 days, for drinking and sanitation
  2. Food – at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable
  3. Battery-powered or hand crank radio
  4. Flashlight
  5. First-aid Kit
  6. Extra Batteries
  7. Whistle to signal for help
  8. Plastic sheet with duct tape to help down for shelter
  9. Baby wipes, garbage bags & plastic ties
  10. Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  11. Manual can opener, utensils, paper plates & cups
  12. Cell phone chargers, extra battery packs.
  13. Non-prescription medication such as pain relievers, antacids, anti-diarrhea, etc.

Extra Items based on your personal needs:

  1. Glasses or contacts
  2. Toiletries, personal items
  3. Complete change of clothes & sturdy shoes
  4. Baby bottles, formula, diapers, wipes, rash cream etc
  5. Pet food & extra water for your pet
  6. Cash or Checkbook, Travelers Checks, Credit Cards
  7. Copies of your insurance policies, identification, bank account records
  8. Important numbers for Family, Friends, Neighbors, Doctors, Hospitals, Red Cross – in case you lost battery on your phone.
  9. Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  10. Paper and pencil
  11. Matches in a waterproof container
  12. Fire Extinguisher
  13. Household Chlorine Bleach & Medicine dropper to disinfect water
  14. Books, games, puzzles, favorite stuffed animal for Children

Create your “Hurricane Kit” by gathering the majority of the Basic Items and keep them in a ‘ready-to-go’ secure plastic bin. Also, print out this list and keep it in your Hurricane Kit, it will cut down the thought process as to what you need to gather and pack if you find yourself in the path of a hurricane and needing to evacuate your home. Also keep extra water and snacks in your car, if you need to evacuate keep in mind so will everyone else, it will take a long time to get out-of-town – make sure you have a full tank of gas!

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Being prepared ahead of time for the small items will help you prepare your home and family. Homes need to be prepared by storing unsecured items from around your house and yard into the garage or shed. This is an important step to prevent them from being dangerous flying objects. Hurricane wind speeds can exceed 120+ miles per hour, boarding up windows if you anticipate strong winds.

Never hurts to be prepared, even if you never need to use these items during the year. Hurricane season lasts from June to November and the path of a hurricane can change course quickly and if you are not prepared, it makes things a bit more stressful.

Helpful links to check out:

National Hurricane Center

Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricane Track

 

 

 

Ping-Pong Ice Cream Recipe for Ice Cream Machines

I can remember sitting on my grandparents’ porch with my cousins while we wait – oh so patiently, of course – for the ice cream machine to finish with our homemade ice cream. Usually while the adults are bustling about preparing for a big family crawfish/crab boil, the kids are preoccupied with the mesmerizing ice cream machine going ’round and ’round, stealing bits of the ice-covered in rock salt (so healthy right?!)

Now that I am older with my own kids, I love sharing with them memories or activities from my childhood. My boys are lucky to be able to live closely to their cousins and become close friends, making memories together. We have an old hand crank ice cream machine – definitely enjoyed watching the boys “showing their muscles off” by taking turns turning the handle. Laughter and giggling, the anticipation of what they made is in the air!

Our first batch of ice cream is one that my grandma enjoyed making, called Ping-Pong Ice Cream. It’s simple and quick to make, we chose Grape flavor this time. My husband laughed at me when I told him the name, but this is something done in Louisiana – so he is slowly learning the culture since we have been married! Below is the recipe and instructions, enjoy!

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Ingredients for Ping-Pong Ice Cream:

  • 1 – 2 liter bottle of Flavored soda (i.e. Orange, Grape, Strawberry)
  • 1  can of Sweetened Condensed milk
  • Bag of ice
  • Rock Salt

Directions:

In Ice Cream Machine’s metal container pour Flavored Soda and Sweetened Condensed Milk and stir together slowly. Return Ice Cream Machine’s paddle back into the container and put together with your Ice Cream Machine’s motor. Alternate spreading ice and rock salt around the metal container inside the Ice Cream Machine’s bucket. Now, it’s time to turn on your machine or if you have a very old fashioned one, turn the handle and work those muscles! (this is where it is fun to have a bunch of kids over to help with the cranking of the machine – fun for them!)

The Ping-Pong did not last long and they are already ready to make another batch! Orange this time!

I’m on the hunt for a creamy ice cream with fresh fruit, enter your email address to follow my blog and I will send you an email with any new updates or posts!

Have a wonderful day! Thanks for stopping by!

Being an Adult changed my Summers

Remember when summer time was full of sunshine, pool time, riding bikes etc doing just about anything to be outside or on the go? Nothing to worry about except how your were going to fill your day with fun activities? Being an adult killed summer for me! First it was being at college and knowing you can take summer class to graduate faster, plus you needed to get a job to PAY for those classes. Summer at least still held a little of the same feeling of freedom or laziness in the air. Time to go back home to reconnect with family and high school friends or a vacation somewhere before classes start again.

‘Summer still held a little of the same feeling of freedom or laziness in the air’

Then you graduate (or not) and go full-time into the work force and then adulthood seriously begins. No more lazy summer breaks until the next semester of classes, it’s called time off and you have to earn it and ask permission at this new stage. It means no more excuses to ride on your parents coattails with insurance. It didn’t bother me that I no longer could be free on the summer because I enjoyed where I worked and at least most of the people I worked with, sounds silly but I was excited for the challenge.

‘No more lazy summer breaks’

Now that I am a mom of school aged children I see summer completely different, I see it through their eyes. Now we have to wait until the kids’ sport schedules will allow a vacation PLUS lining it up with my husbands’ schedule. When I did work from home, I was blessed to be able to work from any location if I had to, made one less schedule to work around. Summer started to feel like summer again, lazy days in the sun – mostly in the backyard. Except I have to keep watch over my Little Ones because in a blink of an eye those boys will find trouble! We don’t travel with friends, most of our friends have kids and their own schedules and family to visit in the couple of months we have between school years. Through my kids’ eyes I see summer for what it is, I came down off my adult ladder to sit with my kids and play in the sprinklers, eat Popsicles on hot days or play hide and seek, Marco-Polo, blow bubbles or just lay in the grass and giggle over the silly little things that make them belt out a belly laugh.

‘Summer started to feel like summer again’

Trying to encourage my kids to keep themselves busy has been trying, they don’t particularly enjoy being bored. We have had lots of “I’m bored” days and that is OK with me, soon school will be starting and they will no longer be bored. Summer as a parent has its enjoyable days and days where I want to rip my hair out from frustration. I think I enjoy this phase of life though, where I can see and experience the joys of summer through my boys’ eyes but still enjoy the adult side of summer.

Enjoy the summer with your kids, they are only this age once. The years go by fast when they start school and you are running non stop. Slow it down and see it through your kids’ eyes!

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Back to School Deals!

Nothing like school supply sales popping up to remind you that the summer is coming to an end (at least right now in the US), right? As much as they might love to stay home and “play all day” I think they might be ready to get back to school and see friends!

When it comes to buying school supplies you probably have two options

  1. Buy the supply packages from the school (if your school offers this)
  2. Scope out the deals and collect the supplies on your own.

Honestly I try to watch for the sales, it saves us money because I get them on sale versus the school packages at a premium price. That is not to say that some times it pays to grab the supply packages the schools put together. If you don’t order them over the summer they sometimes have extras during the “Meet the Teacher” nights.

 

Pros and Cons of buying the school supplies from the school

  • Pros – Saves time, guaranteed to have all supplies
  • Cons – You pay more by missing sale prices

There is the convenience factor I believe a lot of parents are going for and well I don’t blame them, some items are hard to find and instead of searching store after store, why not let someone else do it. Time is valiable and if paying a little extra to NOT stress over collecting supplies, that’s what the packages are there for.

Pros and cons of collecting school supplies on your own

  • Pros – Can save money shopping sales, kids can pick out their own colors
  • Cons – Collecting supplies takes time and a chance if you wait too long you may not find ALL supplies requested.

Of course, I seem to like a challenge because I still hit the store sales for school supplies. We are a family of 5 and on a tight budget, so I do my best to try to find ways to save money any chance I can. Every dollar counts, right? If I start early enough I schedule trips when I am already going to be in the area, so no special trip needed.

The stores are now putting out their school supplies and putting sales on certain items. Time to stock up! I have a 4th grader, 2nd grader and one beginning Preschool this year and we already have their supply lists. Here we go!

For the hard to find supplies, check out these specialty office supply stores :

  1. Staples
  2. Office Depot

The following stores have great deals on basic School Supplies like crayons, notebooks, pencils, etc.

  1. Wal-Mart
  2. Kroger
  3. Walgreens
  4. CVS

Amazon.com* also provides school supplies, backpacks and clothes!! With a few clicks, Amazon.com will deliver straight to your door! Join Amazon Prime and it will be two-day shipping!!

Anyone else shopping the sales to gather school supplies on their own?

 

 

**There may be affiliate links in this post, by using these links they are for your convenience and at NO cost to you, if you find something you like I may earn a few coins in the bank. Thank you for visiting**

 

How do you handle a Picky Eater?

First let me say that over the years I have been able to figure a few things out about being a parent with young kids. Lots of trial and errors! With my first-born, we were bombarded with advice on how to handle our son until our ears bled and we were frantic with “are we doing it all wrong”. Bottom line is no two kids are alike, just like my parenting style may not be the same as yours. I learned to listen to my gut more and so far it has not led me down the wrong path. Yes my kids have been (and still are I suppose) picky eaters, to the point I want to pull my hair out because food is being wasted! They will grow out of it! My oldest is 9 years old now and can out eat me! I have to believe eventually the picky eater phase will pass even though it seems like it’s a never-ending battle.

“I learned to listen to my guy more and so far it has not led me down the wrong path”

The one thing I do require of them is to taste new to them foods. If they don’t like it, fine don’t eat it but at least you know what it tastes like. I have learned that threatening to take dessert away if they don’t clear their plates only works 25% of the time at our house, depending on the child.  I do notice that they will eat certain foods at their grandparents house but won’t eat it at home! Now how messed up is that!

 

When I ask them what their favorite meals are:

  • Homemade Spaghetti and meatballs
  • Chicken Fried Steak & Mashed potatoes
  • Chicken nuggets ( definitely my Little Bits favorite meal besides PB&J sandwiches)
  • Fish Sticks and Macaroni and cheese.

Out of all those options my pickier eater is my 3-year-old Little Bit, he would only eat Chicken nuggets. On a good day or maybe if someone was bribing him he would TRY the other items on that list. Oh well, he will eat veggies and fruit without a problem most days.  I do have to keep reminding myself that he will grow out of it! Except by the time they grow out of the picky eater phase, my three boys will be hard to fill up and my worries will no longer be about wasting food, but do I have enough!

Food

Something that I remember from my mom, is that if you don’t like what she cooked, don’t eat it because she is not a “short order cook”  making everyone a different meal every night. I carried it over into our home because let’s be honest that’s a lot of work at the end of the day – picky eaters won’t go hungry if you served them the same meal everyone at the table is eating! If they are hungry, they will eat it! Have I maybe made a peanut butter & Jelly sandwich for one of my kids I knew wouldn’t like to eat at the restaurant we were going to, yes.. that I have done when they were younger if it meant we had a nice relaxing family outing.  So see, no one is perfect. Sometimes throwing a PB&J for dinner to save momma’s sanity is necessary!

healthy-eating-for-kids

 

I love Pinterest for finding new recipes that will be a healthy version of what they love to eat. So far my attempts to find healthier versions of say.. chicken nuggets or fish sticks are not well received and I just wasted a bunch of food. UGH!

I would love to hear some recipes that have worked in your family!

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Puddle jumping, might as well join them!

It’s been raining and raining, which means puddles everywhere! Time to throw on the rain jacket and rain boots and head out! There is only so much inside time that I – er, I mean my kids – can handle before cabin fever sets in! Little Bit woke up the other morning asking to head to the splash pad, oh silly boy head out to the backyard, it’s a splash pad out there haha!

rain boots

The thing about my boys, they will wear their rain boots year round rain or shine. They will wear holes in them before their feet grow too big for them. Well then my husband decided I needed my own pair in order to follow them around as they got older.. mine have lasted much longer! Too bad I don’t enjoy wearing mine as much as they enjoy theirs,  it would be helpful.

We were out shopping and it had been raining, of course TODAY we don’t have our rain boots on, and Little Bit found EVERY puddle in the parking lot to jump in from the car to the front door, it was so cute to see his excitement until we made it inside the store. Awesome! Wet, squeaky shoes skipping along the aisles of the store until he complains that his socks are wet and he wants to take his socks and shoes off. Count down to temper tantrum starts now ! You know I was speed walking through the store to finish my shopping while trying to convince him that taking his shoes and socks off now would just be a bad idea. He didn’t believe me of course. He’s so cute at 3, I love this age and some days I cannot stand it. Giving up on my attempt to focus while shopping we eventually made it out of the store and went home so they could splash in the puddles, get muddy – and then come inside and mess the carpet up.

Enjoying time with the boys and letting go of the need to control the crazy mom inside who doesn’t want to clean the carpet AGAIN from muddy messes and just get out there and play with them. The messes will wait, obviously not going to go anywhere unless I deal with them, but I do miss so many moments WITH the boys because I catch myself trying to be “supermom” who does all! They are growing up and these moments that they want to play with mom won’t last forever, I just need to learn to let go more.

 

Grab a book and start an adventure!

I don’t know about your family, but my crew loves to read. Now that school is out, we have immediately gotten lazy with TV and even Legos could last all day if I let it (trust me, if they got along that long I might consider a day of Legos just so I could catch up on all that’s left on my To-Do list! – just every now and then, ha ha). The local libraries have started their Children’s Summer Reading Programs offering prizes for reaching goals. Problem is, last summer my kids read through the program in a few weeks – THAT’S how much they enjoy reading or maybe the enjoyment of being competitive with each other. Which brings up an interesting issue for me as I scour the internet for help – what do 7-9 year olds read these days? We have exhausted the following series:

  1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series
  2. Big Nate Series
  3. Junie B Jones
  4. Magic Treehouse

My 9 yr old had just started bringing home the Harry Potter series towards the end of the school year and books involving dragons, magic, etc. Geronimo Stilton is a new series my 7 yr old picked up and now they are both reading through quickly together, trading books at night and discussing what they read – it’s like they have a little book club of their own, it’s so cute! But I wouldn’t dare say that to them, that would be uncool – right? I could use some more ideas for children’s series or books to read this summer if anyone wants to lend a fellow parent a hand!

Our local library is currently running a Children’s reading program where they earn rewards for the amount of books (or pages) they have read. So far, we are off to a slow start and I am hoping they will perk up after they earn that first reward which I believe is an envelope of free coupons from around the city, next one is usually a toy. Last year we enjoyed most of our freebies and they were excited (at least the older two were, Little Bit was like – “I don’t want paper!” hopefully this year he will have a better understanding of those little papers) I have also added a step for my oldest, because he reads so FAST, I have asked him to write a book report on each book he has read. He’ll be in the 4th grade next year (oh man, that was hard to type out! Where did my baby go?) so I need to make the reading more of a challenge.

Even though they love to go to the library and check out books, my two oldest boys received Amazon’s Kindle Fires for Christmas and we downloaded the Overdrive App* so that they can connect with their libraries in the area and check out books to read on their tablets. This has become a lifesaver at times when we can’t get out to go to the library and they have already finished all their books they checked out.

 

All-New Fire 7 Tablet with Alexa*

 

 

We have rules with the tablets, and one of those rules is they can have it before bed if they are reading a book (or listening to an audio book with their headphones) I have so many parental blocks to keep my little ones safe from the internet and steer them towards “safer” apps that have been approved by mom and dad. Yes – having my kids join the internet phase of life is scary for me, doesn’t it make you nervous?!

Today is a rainy day, so it is a great time to read! What usually happens is at one point I will glance up and see we have stacks and stacks of books all around the room! I ask them if they read like this at school in the library, of course the answer is no, so why do they do it here? Amazing how these little guys are sweet gentleman at school, but little hell raisers at home – thanks guys, your mom appreciates it, now please go clean up!

 

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