Simple Ways to be Ready for Emergencies

Simple Ways to be Ready for Emergencies

On July 2, 1997 a tornado decided to pass through my town.  Only one person died, and that was because he had a heart attack while trying to remove a tree from his lawn.  I remember huddling in the basement with my two cats and my dog.  I just about jumped out of my skin when the neighbor’s chimney blew off and smacked the side of my house.  Christ that was loud, and scary.  But what was worse was what happened after the storm.

My house was intact except for some ripped off siding thanks to being hit buy a chimney.  However, I had no electricity, hardly any food, no batteries for the two flashlights we had, no batteries for the small radio we had, and no candles.  I was up the creek with no paddle.

I will never be caught without batteries or candles again.  I have lots a flashlight including cheap basic ones for the boys to use.

I will never be caught without batteries or candles again. I have lots a flashlight including cheap basic ones for the boys to use.

I grabbed my keys and got in my car.  After I pulled out of the driveway I realized the street was blocked by fallen trees.  I literally drove over people’s lawns to try to get to the drug store!  Once I got to Rite Aid I went in, grabbed the items I thought I would need only to get to the register and have the cashier tell me that the power was down so they couldn’t ring up my stuff.  I showed them what I had and handed over $30, above the amount it cost but whatever, I needed the batteries and food.  I was glad I had gotten there so quickly because suddenly it seemed like everyone in town was making a run on Rite Aid for the exact same stuff I had just grabbed.

Back home I parked the car and heard a lovely hissing sound coming from my car.  I watched as my tire quickly went flat as a pancake!  I had picked up a nail.  We were without power for four miserable, unbelievably hot, sticky days!

The next time I was unprepared came when AJ was just a toddler.  It was the Great Blackout of August, 2003.  Being a mom had made me more cautious, as did the events of September 11th.   So I was good on important stuff like food, batteries, diapers, wipes, etc., but then came the big “GOTCHA” moment.  No water!  No power to the pumping stations meant no water to the houses.

Once I learned on my radio that we were not under attack by terrorists I once again headed to the store, with a toddler in tow, to buy lots and lots of bottled water.  At least this time there were no trees or four inch nails.  Three days later when the power returned we rejoiced, but I was wiser.  I had been caught short twice, and I hated it.

So now I have a stockpile.  I buy in bulk at Costco and also when I have some awesome coupons.  I have had relatives laugh at me and call me a hoarder, but a two  and a half ago I spent 4 months in a wheelchair because of multiple foot surgeries all at once.  My stockpile saw my family through that predicament.  My husband only had to run to the store on his way home from work to pick up fresh dairy, meats and produce.


I am sure there are doomsday preppers out there who would look at my stockpile and laugh, but I am NOT preparing for the end of the world as we know it.  I am preparing for the next blackout, the next Hurricane Sandy, or the next Swine Flu virus.  I want to know that in the event of a real honest to god emergency my family is covered for a couple of weeks if not even a little longer.


I am not going to list everything I have on hand.  You can get all the lists you want from a quick Google search.  A great starting point is here    Plus, you need to have what your family actually needs.  We don’t need diapers anymore, but I do have a month supply of all my RA medications put to the side.  Each time my drugs are refilled I use the old bottle and put the new bottle in storage so the ones in storage are always fresh.


If you haven’t put together a small stockpile or a plan for emergencies you might want to start thinking about it.  Also, I didn’t acquire all this over night.  My stockpile took months to put together using a lot of coupons. Each week at the market try to buy three items for your stockpile.  It will grow faster than you think. DSC_2358


PS- The best place to buy bottled water is Costco if you didn’t already know.  You get twice the bottles for the same price of every where else.  In fact I need to pick up a couple more cases now that I am looking at this picture!


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The Tired Working Mom’s Guide to a Little R & R


After working a full time job that actually pays me a check every two weeks, and then coming home to my second full time job of mom, housewife, cook, laundress, and maid (for which I receive no pay other than sloppy kisses, sticky hugs and sweet cuddles), I have learned that it is important to find little ways to pamper myself.

I’m not talking about weekends in Vegas or a day at the Spa, although those would be great.  Most of us are watching our money a little closer these days, but there are things you can do on the cheap to still make you feel special.  Most days it is rush, rush, rush and sometimes you just need for the world to slow down a bit, or you need a way to shed the work day and tell your brain that it can relax now.  So, how do you do that?

1. Buy Some Pajamas

I read somewhere not that long ago many moms don’t even own pajamas.  They sleep in an old t-shirt or their husbands cast offs.  I don’t know why, but I find that information truly sad.  I love pajamas.  I mean I absolutely LOVE them!  There is something mentally wonderful in the act of taking off the clothes you have busted your butt in all day and putting on something incredibly soft and pretty.

I’m not saying you have to go all Fredrick’s of Hollywood, after two kids I doubt I could squeeze myself in anything they sell.  Not to mention, those hardly look comfy.  For myself I adore Land’s End’s T-Shirt Nightgowns and the matching T-shirt Robes.  I admit they are a bit expensive, which is why I usually buy them after Christmas when they go on clearance.  Plus you can almost always get a code for free shipping or 10% off your purchase which wipes out the shipping cost.  I get the above the knee gowns usually because I hate getting tangled up in the sheets while sleeping.  I wouldn’t say my jammies are sexy, but they are pretty, and definitely better than sweats and a ratty old t-shirt.  Other pajamas that are wonderful I have found are at Khol’s, the Simply Vera line of pajamas are made of cotton, but feel like silk.  And the awesome thing about Khol’s is they always have coupons and everything is always on sale.  Combine a sale with a coupon and you are good to go!  Check them out if you a currently pajama-less.


2.  Audio Books

 I love to read.  During the summer vacation when I am off work I can read a novel a day.  But during the school year I am lucky to find time to read a single magazine article.  However, my commute to work is 30 minutes each way.  So for an hour a day I am in my car, five days a week.  I look at my car as my second home since I spend so my time in it.  I have my blue tooth, my beverage, and in the morning I like to listen to the radio or to talk radio, but in the afternoon, after listening to 30 six years olds yelling and talking all day I am ready for something more peaceful.  So I go to the library and check out audio books on CD.  They are free, which is always nice, and it gives my exhausted brain a chance to decompress and just listen to a story for 30 minutes before I get home and have to start a whole new round of child induced craziness.  Since I have to commute anyways, I might as well turn it into a “me time.”

3.  Pretty Pens and Paper

Most days I am writing something down constantly, whether it is writing down lists of must do things at home, taking notes on a students academic growth at work, or writing down ideas for my next blog entry so I don’t forget it.  Maybe it is because I am an elementary teacher and just love cute things, or maybe it is because I am a girl and like girlie things, but regardless of the reason, I crave cute pens and pretty paper.

Every year my school gives me three boxes of utilitarian Paper Mate blue and black pens to use.  Every year I give them to the kids to play with.  Then I go to Staples and buy myself a rainbow pack of gel pens.  My favorite brand is Pentel’s EnerGel Liquid Gel Ink.  The colors are bright and bold, the roller ball is liquid smooth, and the ink lasts a long time.  Most gel pens I find run out of ink in about two weeks.

As for paper, I find Staples always has fancy legal pads for a dollar or two with colorful prints on top and designs at the bottom in assorted colors.  For me it just lifts my spirits a little to be writing with a fancy purple pen on pretty pink decorate paper as opposed to a black ballpoint on white loose leaf.  Perhaps it is silly, and yes I know I am a nerd, but it works for me.

4.  Make Your Own Personal Treasure Box

 Some days just really suck.  Those are the days when you fell like everyone and everything is just here on the planet to drive you bat shit crazy.  There is a car accident on the way to work so your commute doubles.  At work everything you try to do fails miserably.  On the way home you stop at the supermarket to pick up things you need for dinner, only to get home and realize you forgot one of the things you needed.  Your kids pick tonight to be the night that they are going to fight with each other over the stupidest crap all night long.  It is at this lowest of points that all you want are your kids to go to bed and to not even have to talk to your husband because you are liable to say something really snarky at this point for no other reason than you are in a mood and you might as well put him in a mood to match your own.

This is the night that you need to have your very own treasure box filled with stuff JUST FOR YOU!  If you have an actual cute box of some kind, great, but for me my treasures are in one of my dresser drawers.  So what’s in my treasure box?

Samples!  Lots and lots of samples!  I love tiny things in tiny packages.  I think because it reminds me of the fun of traveling before I had kids.  (Traveling with kids is exhausting.)

I belong to several coupon sites which forever send me links to free samples.  So I hoard them when I get them and save them for a time they are truly needed.  Samples of fancy shampoo, conditioner, lotions and scrubs are among my favorites.  I also love to buy my makeup when they have the Free Gift with Purchase.  I make a quick stop at Clinique to get two lipsticks in my favorite colors and I go home with brand new eye-shadows, blush, mascara, wrinkle cream, and scrub.  What’s not to love?  Next, toss in all those tiny bottles of bubble bath, body wash, and scented lotion you get from people at Christmas time.


Also in there is scented candles, sometimes from Yankee candle, but most of the time it is just Glade apple scented ones I bought on sale at Target with a coupon.  Apple and almond are my favorite aromas.  Most other stuff is too strong for me and gives me a headache.  Finally, what goes better with a facial and a hot bath than a couple of magazines (Victoria and Travel Mags are a personal favorite), a hidden box of Godiva chocolate you bought after a holiday off the clearance rack, and a few mini bottles of liquor to mix up a quick cocktail.


5.  Indulge in the Things you Did Before Kids

I think most moms have a habit of forgetting who they were prior to having children.  I know for a fact I am guilty of it.  You become so wrapped up in the day to day stuff and driving your kids here and there and making sure all their basic needs are met that you literally forget about the stuff that made you who you were.

I’m not talking about going clubbing, dancing all night long, and coming home at 4:00 in the morning.  Yeah, I did that in my 20’s, but I am not in my 20’s anymore.  It is a miracle these days if I can stay awake until 10:30.  I’m talking about the small stuff.

This revelation actually came to me one night while I was watching The King’s Speech.  The boys had gone to bed and Bill and I jumped at the chance on a Saturday night to watch something free of animation and rated higher than PG.

We were nearing the end of the movie where Colin Firth is about to make his big speech on the radio.  Suddenly Beethoven started playing.  The music really captured the moment of the scene, but it also captured me in a way I had forgotten.  As the music built and built to its crescendo a stirring was happening in my heart.  All through high school and college I was a bit of a nerd, okay I was a total nerd, but I loved classical music.  Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and Vivaldi were good friends of mine.  As I thought about it I realized that the last time I had played classical music was at my wedding five years prior when I marched down the aisle to PacBell’s The Canon.

The very next morning I went to iTunes and downloaded all my old favorites and now I play them often, especially when I am cleaning.  Did you know you can clean an entire house in the length of time it takes to play Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture?  The music gets the heart pumping and the extra oxygen just charges you up.  Try it, I swear it works!

After that I started to think about other things I used to love.  Poetry, drawing and  writing were among some of my passions.  I am still a crazy, busy, working mom, so I had to think small.  I don’t have time to write a book right now.  Maybe some day, but a blog allows me to express myself and is short enough for me to fit it in.  I’ll never draw a masterpiece (I don’t have that kind of talent) but a small sketch pad and some color pencils allow me to copy some small pictures or cartoons I find pretty.  Poetry is naturally small, so I can read a couple at a time and then think about them while cooking dinner.

These little ideas won’t take away all of your stress.  If they did I wouldn’t be a mommy who takes Zoloft.  But they can give you small moments of peace and enjoyment, and isn’t that what everyone says?  Make sure to enjoy the small things in life?

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