Don’t Get Caught Without Bread & Milk This Winter

Don't Get Caught Without Bread & Milk This WinterHe’s back. Old Man Winter is here and he is here with a vengeance. For those of us who just survived four polar vortexes last winter on top of 90+ inches of snow, no one is all that happy to see winter here again, and earlier than ever!

Curtsey of New York Times
Curtsey of New York Times

This past week saw the people of Buffalo hit with a snow storm of epic proportions. The weather man predicted two feet, which is bad enough, but then they got seven! I can’t even imagine seven feet of snow. Unfortunately over a dozen people did not survive the storm and my heart goes out to those families.

Curtsey of the New York Times

Curtsey of the New York Times

On the news came the aftermath. Patio doors caved in from the weight as did windows. People opened their door and couldn’t see past the wall of snow that then poured into their living room. They were literally trapped in their homes, having to climb out of second story windows to get out.

There was the guy who had to walk five miles to get diapers for his baby. On CNN they interviewed a family who was getting worried because the mom had only purchased three days worth of food and the local government was now telling them it might be a week before their residential roads were cleared. It was a quick reminder that the best time to prepare for emergencies and bad weather situations is BEFORE the situation arises.

Last winter in Michigan there was a run on supermarkets just before a big snow was predicted to fall. At the time the predictions were for anywhere from 1-3 feet. Shelves were bare, produce sections were picked clean, and there wasn’t a gallon of milk or loaf of bread to be found for miles. People actually got into punching matches over bananas!

So what are some simple things you can buy now to have on hand later when you are snowed in under several feet of snow? Everyone knows about the easy stuff, canned pastas, Dinty Moore Beef Stew, and cans of tuna. But what about perishables?  How do you keep those on hand long term?

With a few easy to use substitutions it’s actually pretty easy.  Most people are familiar with Horizon milk boxes.  The chocolate milk boxes have been a favorite for children’s packed lunches for a couple of years now.  The best part about these shelf stable milk boxes is they have ridiculously long expiration dates.  Not only can you buy them in chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla, but you can also just buy plain 1% milk.  At Meijer’s today I grabbed the first box I saw.  Today is November 23, 2014.  The expiration date on this milk box is for five months from now!  This is a great time to buy a dozen of these, hide them on the top shelf so the kids don’t grab them because they are convenient, and have them for an emergency.

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milk 4aAnother great trick I learned to do in a pinch is use Carnation Condensed Milk.  I admit I don’t want to drink a big glass of this stuff, but I have used it many times for cooking.  It actually makes for great mac and cheese, works perfectly for baking, and can even be poured over cereal.

Next is bread.  The best advice I can give you here is to just freeze it!  Stick a loaf in your freezer and forget about it.  Next week when you buy a new loaf, swap the old for the new.  It will thaw on the counter top and be as fresh as just baked. Still, another really good substitute here is a hearty box of crackers.  My family is addicted to the Toasted Harvest Wheat.  A handful of these with some cheese sticks and deli meat makes for a quick meal.bread 2a

A great idea to keep in mind for these times is to purchase easy prep foods or ones that require nothing more than water to provide a hot meal.  Bear Creek makes some fantastic soups and pasta mixes that need a couple of cups of water and that’s it.  I make their Chicken Tortilla soup all the time. I love to add the leftovers from a Costco chicken and a can of kidney beans to it bulk it up, but it is perfectly delicious all on its own.  Plus all you need to prepare it is a working stove burner.

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add water 6aA special breakfast treat is Krusteaz Fat Free Blueberry muffins.  First, you would never ever know they were fat free.  My picky eaters gobble these right up.  Second, the only ingredient you need to add to this box is 1 cup of water.  No eggs, no milk, or cooking oil is required, so if your oven is working whip up a quick batch!

Everyone loves fresh fruit, but again this is an easy one to stock up on.  My kids love Go-Go Squeeze apple sauces, raisins, tropical fruit and peaches packed in light syrup. fruit a

One problem people usually have when blizzards happen is they lose power.  I am fortunate to have a gas stove.  The oven won’t work without electricity, but I can still use a match to light the burners so I still have access to my cook top even if my microwave and oven are absolutely useless.

So stock up now and put your feet up and relax the next time you are snowed it!

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I hope these suggestions are helpful. If you have any mommy preparedness advice to offer please share below.

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Tired Mommy Survival: Never Have a Dead Phone Ever Again

Never Have a Dead Phone Ever Again

I am not OCD, but there are times when I have some major OCD tendencies. One of my tendencies is to never run below half of anything.  I never let my car get below half a tank of gas…ever.  I have crazy fears that one day there will be a horrible snow storm and I will be one of those unfortunate people who get trapped on the freeway and then watches as their car slowly runs out of gas.  Has this ever happened to me?  No, but I plan to make sure it never does.

The same runs true of certain food items, toilet paper, and personal hygiene products. Yes, I know there is a store not five minutes from my house, but what if?  What if there is a tornado, or a flood, or a blizzard, or a solar flare that burns out the power grid as we know it and everyone in the house is suffering from a tummy bug?  Suddenly my toilet paper hoarding skills are going to make a lot of sense.  No, I am not crazy.  Well, maybe just a little.  Really, I’m just a mom who never wants to get caught with her pants down, both literally and figuratively.

Anyway, this post is about my iPhone. As you may have guessed by now I start to freak out when my phone falls below that magical number of 50%.  I need my phone for so many things during the day.  I need it to stay in contact with my husband. I need it in case my children’s school calls and one of my kids are sick.  I also need it through out the day for blogging purposes, teaching purposes, texting, and even watching CNN during my lunch hour.

272I have a charger at work, and in my car, and in my house, but sometimes you are no where near an electrical outlet. At Target I found the perfect solution to fix my power draining fears.  It’s the MyCharge Energy Shot Mobile Battery Charger for iPhone and it was only $19.99!

It is super small, just the size of a lipstick so keeping it in your purse is a breeze, not to mention it’s so darn cute!!  I know that sounds shallow, but honestly it really is adorable with its multi-pink tones and white chevron pattern.

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It’s so easy to use that it is truly dummy proof. You charge it just like you would your phone.  There is a little indicator light that turns green once the battery is fully charged.  As your phone drains the battery it will turn yellow first and finally red to let you know that battery is just about done.  The energy shot gives you one full power refill, or in my case will give me two 50% refills since I never let my phone die all the way.

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Plus it comes with a matching drawstring pouch that lets you keep your energy shot and the micro power cord together. No digging and digging through your purse trying to find a one inch black cord that has fallen to the bottom somewhere.

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This is so practical and useful that I plan to get my son one (just not in pink). He will be going on a class trip to Washington DC this year without me or his dad.  I was worried about being able to stay in contact with him while he was gone.  I knew he’d be playing games and end up draining his phone’s battery before he’d have a chance to recharge.  Now I know he will have a back up source of power while on the long bus ride.

Once again, if you know of some awesome product that no mom should be without please share below in the comments.

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