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  • Make Sure You Have These 7 Things Before the Next Snow Storm

    There’s a storm a-coming… So what are you doing to prepare?

    One of the best parts about snow storms is that we usually get prior warning before it comes and dumps who-knows-how-much white stuff all over us. Winter storms can knock out power for days or even weeks, grocery stores can be cleaned out the day before, and roads are turned into skating rinks. There are plenty of other hazards associated with snow storms, and once they arrive, the time to prepare is pretty much over. Fortunately, there’s still time!

    So, before the next big storm pays you a visit, what should you make sure you have? Let’s have a look at the really important stuff.

     

    Water

    Let’s face it, water is probably the most important part of prepping. If your water pipes burst or water becomes inaccessible for any other reason, you’ll be glad you have a store of water that will last you at least three days, more if possible.

    Water isn’t just for drinking. Of course, you’ll want to bathe or wash your hands or dishes…maybe even flush the toilet! Having at least one gallon of water per person per day will let you stay healthily hydrated, and give you enough water for basic sanitation.

     

    Food

    Humans need to eat, and if you’re reading this, my guess is you fall under that category. Make sure you have enough food for three days. Apples are a great food to have during emergencies. According to a CNN health article, not only are apples a fantastic source of many essential nutrients, but they also have a water content of 84%. That means apples can help keep you hydrated even when water is difficult to come by.

    FN_I115 Freeze-dried ice cream is out of this world!

    Freeze-dried fruits and vegetable, meats and full entrees are another great resource. The freeze-drying process retains nearly all of the original nutrients of the food, unlike dehydrated food which loses nearly half its original nutrients. Freeze-dried food is ideal, because you can buy it today and let it sit on your shelf for up to 25 years! This way, if a storm does come on you unannounced, you’ll already have fresh fruit and veggies and hearty meals stored away, so while you may be in the middle of a disaster situation, you’ll be eating just like you would (dare I say better, even?) if it had never happened.

    FEMA recommends having some sort of comfort food on hand. This can be whatever helps soothe you the best. My personal preference is chocolate. Others might be ice cream. While ice cream is difficult to store if the power’s out, freeze-dried ice cream can sit on the shelf and be perfectly good (and you can feel like an astronaut while you eat it, too).

     

    Sanitation

    Body wipes, dust masks, and hand sanitizer all have their place during an emergency. If the water’s off, body wipes might be the only way to bate. Likewise, hand sanitizer could be your only option to wash your hands after changing a dirty diaper.

     

    Infant Care

    Which brings me to the next category: babies. If you have young ones, will you have enough diapers to get you through until you can venture outside again? What about baby formula, or baby food? Plan ahead so that if going to the store becomes impossible, your younglings will still be taken care of.

     

    Light and Heat

    If the power goes out, so will your lights, and so will your furnace. Make sure you at least have enough blankets to stay warm, but also consider a portable propane heater (make sure it’s safe to run indoors). Heaters like these can make your living conditions a whole lot more comfortable.

    CK-H800-Portable-Buddy This Big Buddy heater is your best buddy when it's cold and you need heat.

    At the least, make sure you have candles for light. The sun sets pretty early in the winter, which means it gets dark faster, too. Having candles can turn your home from a gloomy dungeon to a nice, romantic getaway (even though that “getaway” may have been forced upon you). Check your flashlights and make sure they have fresh batteries. Hand-crank lights and other light sources are always a good idea to have around. Candles can only do so much, but long-lasting lanterns that don’t require electricity (such as these ones from Goal Zero) can bring bright light to your blacked-out home

     

    Fuel

    Make sure the gas tank in your car is topped off before the storm hits. If you need to get anywhere and the service station is out of commission, you'll be glad you did. If you have other gas tanks, such as propane for your grill, make sure you have a full tank as well, just in case it becomes your only option for cooking.

     

    Entertainment

    Let’s face it, you’re going to get bored quickly if you’re not prepared. The TV obviously won’t work without power, and your laptop can only run for so long before it needs a charge. So what’s a person to do? There are some good options to keep the boredom at bay.

    Reading is one of them. Be sure you have a light source handy (see above) so you can read once it gets dark. Reading a good book will not only make the time fly by, but you’ll be doing something that’s very enjoyable. If you need some recommendations, I’ll post some at the bottom of this article. I’ve got just what you need J

    Survive! Board Game Geek A thrilling game of Survive! is a great way to pass the time - Image via Board Game Geek

    Board games are another excellent way to pass the time. I love tabletop games. They are a great way to bring your family together for a good time. There are so many wonderful board games these days that you’ve probably never even heard of. By all means, bust out the Uno, Monopoly, and Risk (I love Risk), but again, if you would like some recommendations of fun games for you and your family (with some for everyone), I’ll make a list at the bottom of the post.

     

    Well, I’m sure there are other things not mentioned here that you would think obvious additions. By all means, please let us know in the comments what else you should prepare with!

     

     

    Book Suggestions

     

    Forbidden Island - via Dad's Gaming Addiction Play cooperatively as a family with Forbidden Island - Image via Dad's Gaming Addiction

    Board Game Suggestions

     

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  • What to Expect (or not) from El Nino

    What to Expect (or not) from El Nino

    Here’s a cheerful headline to brighten your week: “El Niño is Going to Make Your 2014 Miserable.” Thank you, salon.com, for the good news.

    Actually, 2014 is half over already, and it’s been a pretty fair six months for me, so I’m not getting too hand-wringy quite, yet. I am, however, interested to see what kinds of wacky weather the warm Pacific currents have in store.

    The trick about El Niño, as we were informed by the Weather Channel recently (see their article, “Hurricane Season 2014: 5 Things You Need to Know”), is that its effects are famously unpredictable. Even salon.com’s efforts to sound dire are compromised, as experts warn us that the year could be unusually wet or unusually dry…or, um, neither.

    “Regions across the U.S. that are normally wet can dry out during El Niño conditions, while normally dry regions can flood.” Worldwide expectations related to El Niño are not always accurate, however. “There is an expectation of drought, but not in every single El Niño event do we actually have drought,” Lisa Goddard, director of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, said.

    Well, that certainly clears things up.

    Sounds to me like a good time to be prepared for any eventuality. So here are some articles to help get you set for whatever El Niño has in store for your area.

    Keep an eye on the skies, and let us know how El Niño is affecting you this year!

    -Stacey

  • Record Breaking Tornados Hit the Midwest

    Midwest Tornados

    According to CBS News, several late-season tornadoes hit the Midwestern United States on Sunday, November 17th, 2013. The biggest impact of the storm was felt in Illinois, where at least six people have been confirmed dead and hundreds of homes were flattened. The Chicago Tribune states, “Since 1986, there have been 194 tornado warnings issued in the month of November in Illinois: More than half of them, 101, were issued Sunday, according to the Chicago Weather Center.”

    After interviewing National Weather Service Meteorologist Tom Skilling, the Chicago Tribune quoted him as saying, "It appears the storm may have produced the most powerful Illinois November tornado on record outside of St. Louis (and possibly elsewhere) and may be one of the four most intense Great Lakes storms of the past five decades." But Illinois was not the only state affected by this massive storm.

    The storm traveled through parts of Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky on Sunday night. These tornadoes were accompanied by hail and damaging winds, knocking out the power in several communities across these states. At least 75,000 people lost power in the Chicago area and many are still without it.

    To learn more about the Midwest tornadoes, check out these links.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57612737/at-least-6-dead-as-dozens-of-late-season-twisters-pummel-midwest/

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-tornado-disaster-area-20131118,0,5469499.story

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