Thursday, June 28, 2012

72 Hour Emergency Kits

For awhile now I have wanted to put together 72 hour emergency kits for our family.  I finally got it done this past weekend and feel such a relief in doing so.  I hope we never need them, but I am happy to feel prepared in the event that we do.  I still have a few personal items to add to each, but wanted to share with you what I have put together.
There are many formats for making an emergency kit, from duffles and totes to plastic bins.  I opted to use backpacks for ours.  I certainly don't expect us to be carrying them around much (they are heavy), but they will be easy to store and easy to grab in the event that we are forced to evacuate our home.  I was thrilled that all of the food easily fit into each bag, with extra room for personal and emergency supplies.  There is one bag for each member of our family, with the adult bags being a bit larger to fit additional emergency supplies and equipment.
The food contents of each bag are basically the same.  Each pack has food for 3 days, including 3 meals and a separate snack bag for each day.  Each meal is separated into its own plastic zipper bag, with one large snack bag for each day.  The bags are labeled with a sharpie specifying the day and meal. The main compartment of each pack also contains a large package of baby wipes, a large package of Wet Ones wipes, and an extra large package of jerkey (beef or turkey). There are utensils, flashlights w/ extra batteries, toothbrush & paste, soap, and a few other personal items in the outside section of each bag.  My bag has a can opener, while my husband's has instant Starbucks coffee.  It would absolutely be a disaster if we didn't get our coffee!!!  We also have 3 gallons of water per person, as well as an additional gallon for our cats.  Their food is in my pack (one can to split per day, plus a small bag of dry food).  The water is not in the backpacks, but will be stored with them for easy access.
 So, what we will be eating should we ever need to use our kits?  Here is a breakdown by meal/day.
(B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, S = Snack)

Day 1
B - 2 Granola Bars, Craisins, Pears, Juice
L - Tuna Kit, Apple Sauce, 2 Candies
D - Chili, Corn, Goldfish Crackers, Cookies
S - Beef Jerkey, Stinger Waffle, Fruit Snacks, Chocolate Milk

Day 2
B - 2 Granola Bars, Meat Stick, Mandarine Oranges, Juice
L - Soup, Apple Sauce, Craisins, 2 Candies
D - Chicken & Rice, Green Beans, Meat Stick, Milk, Cookies
S - Craisins, Tuna Kit, Stinger Waffle, Chocolate Milk, Candy

Day 3
B - 2 Granola Bars, Apple Sauce, Meat Stick, Juice
L - Soup, Tuna Kit, Craisins, 2 Candies
D - Chili, Rice, Peaches, 2 Candies, Chocolate Milk
S - Mac N' Cheese, Cookies, Stinger Waffle, Meat Stick, Juice

It isn't fancy, but it is more than enough food.  We could certainly survive on a lot less.  

Each bag will also contain a laminated family photo, as well as individual laminated photos of each family member with names and emergency contact information on the back of each.  All packs will contain a small First Aid Kit (larger ones in the adult packs) and extra EpiPens for Super Tot, along with his allergy information.  We have a cordless weather radio with extra batteries, too.  
Should we be without water at home for an extended period of time, we also have 4 extra 5-gallon jugs for our water cooler.  We are also slowing adding to a small stock-pile of additional food at home in the event of an extended power outage.

There are many resources online that offer additional assistance in putting together emergency kits.  There are several other essential items to have on hand and easily accessible.  Most importantly (to me) is a family binder or file with important documents.  

As I mentioned before, I hope we never need these kits, but I am glad to be prepared in the event that we do. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Homeschool Room Organization

One of the things on my plan for the summer was to redo our schoolroom.  Princess has moved into "middle school" and wanted to have a school desk, rather than a table for her daily work.  We searched quite a bit and found these adorable and customizable school desks online.  The best part is that they are adjustable in height, so they work for both kiddos, and will grow with them even through their high school years.  I also ordered matching chairs from the same company, but they were shipped separately and have not arrived yet.  

The kids LOVE their new desks, and so do I!
We continue to use our workbox system, which we love.  This will be our 3rd year using it, and I wouldn't change anything about the way we initially tweaked it to fit our family.  The only change is that this year, Super Tot wanted to move away from his Tot Trays and start having Preschool "Sissy Boxes".  Princess works her boxes in order and removes the number as she completes a box.   

 Super Tot's boxes will be more like his Tot Trays have been in the past.  I will simply be using the boxes, rather than trays.  Each box will contain an activity that Super Tot can do in any order (and as many times) as he wishes.  They will not be numbered, and they will be out all week, as before.  The only change will be how they are presented/displayed. 

This is what the boxes look like for Princess.  You can read more about the system here
Here are a few more photos of our new set-up.
 Super Tot's area showing his desk, workboxes, etc.
 I have had these drawers for many years, and they were purchased at The Container Store.  They no longer have units with the wooden top, but these are similar.  I use these to store various supplies for Super Tot's schooling.  
The top of the units hold coloring books and various resources I use for Super Tot's school.  I have a milk crate with various activities sorted by letter that I use for his "Letter of the Week" lessons.
 This is the front of our school room.  The crate below the calendar is for library books.  They go in the tote bag when they are ready to be returned.  We go to the library every Monday.  The bookcase under the white board contains various Bible resources, as well as general resources such as dictionaries, our thesaurus, etc.  The cubbies have white board & calendar supplies, as well as other misc. items.
 Another new thing I am implementing this coming year is calendar time.  I am very excited for Super Tot to start each day with Bible time, followed by calendar time to discuss the days of the week, months, seasons, weather, etc.  I used several ideas I found online and combined them to create our own personal calendar.  
I am blessed to have an incredible teacher space in our current home.  All of our texts, teacher manuals, and my planning items for this year are on my built-in desk.  This is also where I have my daily quiet time.  Our family computer is on a small desk in the corner.  
I often receive e-mails inquiring about how I store my various Tot School/Preschool supplies.  I have a closet in our guest room that I use for school storage.  It contains two large metal shelving units.  They may not appear to be very organized, but each shelf and container contains a different theme, skill or type of supply.  
 We have various bookshelves in almost every room of our house containing our personal home library.  They are not organized as well as I would like, as we have moved shelves in a hurry and just placed the books back on.  Reorganizing them is still on my agenda this summer.  We also have baskets full of books in several rooms.  Here are a few of the shelves containing most of our school resources.
 Our homeschool space isn't perfect, but I feel so incredibly blessed to have the room and resources that we currently have.  We expect to move into a smaller urban home in a couple years, and I know that will mean a much smaller school space.  I feel confident that the organization of our current space will make that transition and downsizing easier, and I know that we will be able to make our actual work space fit into whatever home the Lord provides.  

Monday, June 4, 2012

Happy Summer!!

I am taking a break from blogging this summer to focus wholly on the Lord and my family.  I pray you have a safe and blessed summer.  Please feel free to browse my previous posts, and to contact me should you need anything.  Otherwise, I hope to see you in the fall!