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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Mommy’s Ready for Anything Purse

Mommy's Ready for Anything Purse

The movie One Fine Day, from 1996, is without a doubt one of my favorite movies.  Granted I have a lot of favorite movies, but this one would be in the top ten.  You have a handsome George Clooney, a drop dead gorgeous Michelle Pfeiffer, a couple of really cute kids, and some truly funny and adorable scenes.  But, even though George is great eye candy, and watching them struggle through the day was laugh out loud funny, what I really found myself paying attention to was that fabulous purse!

One Fine Day 3By fabulous I don’t mean fashionable.  It was just a big black shoulder  bag.  No, by fabulous I mean that bag had EVERYTHING!  No matter what mess her son created, no matter how many times her outfit got ruined; there was a solution to be found inside her purse.  I finished watching that movie and found myself thinking that when I became a mom I was going to have it all together just like her.  I was going to become the doomsday prepper of Parenting Mishaps 101, 102 and beyond.

Well, when I started having kids I fulfilled my statement that I would have the Michelle Pfeiffer purse of all purses.  I had an enormous bag filled with every possible thing you could think of and you know what?  After lugging it around for a month I threw my back out.  Seriously!  The truth is, carrying everything was just too much.  Still, at the time, I was a single working mom and I really did need to be organized and ready for life’s little mishaps.  That was when I realized that you could have everything you needed, just not in one single purse.

I cleared out a spot in my desk drawer to make way for headache meds, feminine products, nail files, nail clippers, snacks, a few make-up items and even a spare deodorant since I worked in a non-air conditioned school that soared to 95 degrees inside on really hot days.

I did the same for my car:  emergency outfit for me and my son, a spare diaper bag that I received from my shower stocked with diapers, wipes, and snacks that wouldn’t go bad in a hot car, trash bags to hold an outfit that suffered a “blow out” and even a towel to fold in half and lay in the car seat should a pee accident happen out on the road and the car seat got soaked.

A well stocked car and desk is great, but I still carry a purse that has just about everything for those times when you are no where near your car or desk.  I just learned to go mini on everything and decided what is the most important.  I still want to be ready for any emergency.

DCIM100SPORT The trick to this really is to get the right size purse.  You don’t want a monster sized bag, but it still needs to be just big enough to hold all your necessities.  About every four years I indulge in a mid-sized Coach purse from the outlet mall.  I tend to stick with the hobo designs because they allow more flexibility.DCIM100SPORT

The two biggest things in my bag are my wallet and my PAK.  I learned the hard way that large wallets require larger sized purses.  So I bought a small fold in half Coach wallet that I carried for 14 years until it finally fell apart.  A few years back I picked up a new fold in half style wallet.  The PAK is a recent discovery that I fell in love with.  I used to carry all these little sample sized items in my purse that would be just lying in the bottom and I would have to dig around and around looking for what I needed.  Now I just take out my PAK.

DCIM100SPORTIn the PAK is everything:  nail care, clothing fix ups, toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, Tide to go, scissors, tweezers, wet wipes, deodorant, breath spray, lotion, and tissues.  It came prefilled but as items run out or bottles empty I just refill them now with my own stuff.

DCIM100SPORTOther items you will find in my purse are my cell phone, Neosporin spray, eye drops, more tissues, a travel sized pack of Wet Ones, all my “store rewards” cards on an old key ring, Gum picks, a tiny hairbrush, ink pen and a mini flashlight.

Because my boys tend to get booboos where ever they go I also have a small first aid kit.  Years ago I purchased a travel sized first aid kit for the car and it came with this mini pack that I love.  It slips easily in a side pocket yet has everything you need:   assorted band-aids, allergy meds, anti-bacterial wipes, ointment, and Tylenol.


DCIM100SPORTGrowing boys are always hungry.   I have learned to keep some granola bars or Cliff bars or just some kind of “bar” inside as well.  Also, I am a caffeine junkie who hates coffee so I keep Crystal Light Caffeinated travel packs on me at all times.  Just tear it open and dump it into my refillable water bottle that I never leave home without.

DCIM100SPORTAdd in some keys, sunglasses and a hair band for pulling back my hair on a hot day and I am just about ready to go.  It all fits pretty easily inside.

DCIM100SPORTFinally the last thing that goes in is another item I can’t live without.  My agenda!  Without that my entire life would fall apart.  I know a lot of people now do all their scheduling on their smart phones or electronic device but honestly, I need to be able to just scribble it down on the go and then look at an entire month at a time.  Plus every few days I compare my agenda to the enormous refrigerator family calendar to make sure every activity is present and accounted for.


If you are looking for the perfect agenda I highly recommend the Erin Condren ones.  They are fabulous and you can customize it online.

So there you have it.  My life in a purse.  To help keep my purse organized and stop it from becoming a traveling toy bag I have purchased the boys their own back packs that we use when going out to various places.  Pottery Barn Kids has really cute preschool/kindergarten backpacks that are perfect for holding hot wheels, a ziplock storage bag filled with legos, a coloring book and some crayons, plus a lovie or two.


That doesn’t mean I never get toys or sticky lollipops in my purse, I do, just not as often now that the boys have their own packs.

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