Friday, August 14, 2015

Wildfire Evacuation Plan

Sunset courtesy of wildfire smoke
I'm really not an alarmist or one of those people that thinks we'll all lose our homes at some point, but with over 200 wildfires going around our area, and threats of lightning storms, I'm starting to worry and plan for the worst.  Being from the Midwest, I've never lived under such threat of fire, so I asked my girlfriends last night for their advice on what to do if we have to be evacuated.  Many of their ideas were actually really great, so I'm going to give you a list of what to do in order of importance, with the idea that your family and children are safely evacuated (or on their way out) and you have some time to load your vehicles to leave. Don't ever put yourself or your family in harms way for things in your home!

What to do before an evacuation:
  1. Put all important documents in a portable, fire safe file if possible.  Files to gather: Birth certificates, marriage certificates,Medical insurance cards, home and car insurance, vehicle titles, passports, cash if on hand, etc.
  2. Have all important photo albums in a ready location with a plan to take them.
  3. Talk to your children about evacuation route and where to go.  Maybe even make a map and laminate it where it will be available.  I know in our case, we will be having our teenagers driving our vehicles out, so a plan is good!  In our situation, we have trimming in the alternate route to make, so a plan for that is needed.
  4. Make a written plan for what to pack in each vehicle that is going.
  5. Pack a 72 hour pack.  This should be portable, but include food, water, blanket, basic personal care likes soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, toilet paper, and fire starter to last for 72 hours.
  6. Talk with family (and maybe even make a list in order of importance for each person) about what they couldn't live without, or would want to take with them.  Don't leave small children out of this conversation!  Small children will be more manageable in an emergency if they have their favorite blanket, doll or special item with them!
  7. Take a picture of all of your items of value and rooms as they are before the fire and store the pictures away from the home.
  8. Pack & update First Aid and survival kits in all vehicles!
In the case of an evacuation:
  1. Keep all cars, vehicles and trailers parked in a ready to go out the driveway at all times! 
  2. Hook up all trailers to the rigs in a ready to drive away position.
  3. Kennel family pets in safe place in escape vehicle, away from the chaos of packing.  They may frighten and run away, so better to make them ready and be certain to have them.
  4. Load most important livestock in trailer or truck if you have room for them.  In our case, we have 3 fair lambs that will need to go in our truck. 
  5. Turn all other livestock loose.  Apparently, most livestock, given the opportunity to flee from fire, will know what to do.  In our case, we have 25 chickens, which would be impossible to move at once, or even take care of.  On the other hand, they will survive if they get to a safe area without us!
  6. Load Important Document file
  7. Load 72 hour pack
  8. Each family member grab their one special item (hopefully you talked about that)
  9. Load small valuables.  This could be money, jewelry, etc.
  10. Load electronics.  All phones, cords, batteries, cameras, laptops, tablets.  I know this seems weird, but I know that I can't imagine living without these for long!  They are replaceable, but make life easier!
  11. Grab and extras you can fit for everyday living, like clothing, blankets, pillows, food
  12. When the vehicles are full, move them to a safe distance right away, with the children.
  13. If you can return or if time allows, load larger items of value if possible.
Keep in mind that NO THING is more important than the safety and well-being of your family, not even an animal, livestock or pet is worth more than your kids!

Have you ever been evacuated?  Have I missed anything?  I would love to update my lists if I don't have it all.  Also,  a good browse of Pinterest will produce some great lists to print.  If you follow me on Pinterest and check my Organization and Cleaning board, I have some of my favorites in there.

Monday, June 29, 2015

S'mores made better!

Ok, I love old fashioned s'mores.  You know, the yummy perfectly golden cooked marshmallows over a campfire between two graham crackers and three rectangles of Hershey's chocolate.  We've tried all different kinds of options for s'mores, but they just don't quite make the cut.  We've used Peeps instead of marshmallows.  We've tried Rolo's and Reese's peanut butter cups.  We've tried square marshmallows and the jumbo ones.  I love the off brand, cheap marshmallows the best.  None of these options quite match up, though!

Sooo..... this weekend, while we were camping, we went about making our traditional, only-way-to-eat s'mores as usual!  Then, for whatever reason, I decided that I would try my perfectly cooked, off-brand marshmallow between two homemade chocolate chip cookies!  Oh, my!! We now have a competitor to the original, traditional s'mores!  You don't even need the chocolate!  The chocolate chips melt with the hot marshmallow and it tastes so yummy!!!  Warning, you may have to eat several of these, though, which makes them not so healthy, but happiness created by eating them, may overrule the calories!  (Maybe!)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Horizontal Rainbow

On the way home from town at 1pm today, we saw this horizontal rainbow above the mountain!  I'm not exactly sure what it is, but after doing a bunch of searching online, have settled with Wikipedia's version of it: (See the entire article Here)

 A circumhorizontal arc is an optical phenomenon - an ice-halo formed by the refraction of sun- or moonlight in plate-shaped ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere, typically in cirrus or cirrostratus clouds. In its full form, the arc has the appearance of a large, brightly spectrum-coloured band running parallel to the horizon, located below the Sun or Moon. The distance below the Sun or Moon is twice as far as the common 22-degree halo. Red is the uppermost colour. Often, when the halo-forming cloud is small or patchy, only fragments of the arc are seen. As with all halos, it can be caused by the Sun as well as (but much more rarely) by the Moon.[1] 
So, although the rainbow looks curved, it was straight across the sky and there is no sign of rain anywhere nearby (in fact, we are on the verge of having fire dangers in the area). It surely is a great sign today of "living blessed on the prairie!"
Please let me know if you have any better explanations for this, because it seems to be such a weird occurrence! 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

My BIG One Day Goal: $1000!

I have a great big goal for tomorrow!  To have a $1000 day!  Wow! I've never done that on my own, so I need your help!  If you can help, please contact me thru my "Shop with Me!" on the right column and then Click "What I love!"  For every $25 purchase on My $1000 Day Party, you will be put into a drawing!  When I hit $500 someone will get their order for HALF PRICE!  When I hit $1000, someone will get their order for FREE!!! I can't wait to hear from you all and thanks in advance! 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

FitBit Reality Check

I'm not sure I would ever have bought a FitBit on my own, but when I received one from my Mom for a Birthday/Weight Loss Reward, I find myself quite obsessed with it!  I consider myself pretty active, and even run on the treadmill 3-4 days a week for 2 miles.  Well, in the last week and a half of wearing this little band, I have found that I'm definitely not active enough.  This FitBit has certainly been a reality check for me.

The American Heart Association recommends that you take 10,000 steps a day to keep your heart healthy.  Most "normal" days, I've found that I don't get anywhere near 10,000 steps, BUT it has challenged me to make sure that I do.  As a result, I'm feel much better, and have even taken a half mile run up and down my driveway (unheard of, because I've always been too embarrassed to run in public) with my kids.  Maybe this Fitbit is onto something!  It sure is getting me to move!  What about you?  What keeps you moving?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Chicken Check-In

Just wanted to share what our meat chickens are starting to look like.  They sure do grow fast!  My kids and husband primarily take care of the chickens, so I was shocked at how big they are when I went down there to see them last night.  Just three or so weeks away from butchering time!  It's going to take us four days to butcher all 300 chickens, so it will be a big ordeal!  Stay tuned for that!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Homeschool Class of 2015

My firstborn is about to graduate this Sunday! Because we homeschool, this is creating a few weeks with a ton of work and getting ready for the graduation ceremony and the party!  But I have to say doing the crafting is my favorite part!
There are four boys in our area that are graduating together, so we are having their graduation in one of the family's barn (not animal barn, but really, an extra space for people gathering barn!)  It's a beautiful location and a beautiful barn, so we feel extremely blessed to be a part of this ceremony and party!
We decided to make the most of the country feel and have burlap and country accents.  I offered to make burlap pennants for each of the boys, spelling their names, for the card tables, and then also a big GRADUATION banner for the gate out of burlap.  I happened to have four extra pennants, so decided to make one with 2015 on it for another accent. 
Their color is navy blue, so I added some scraps of material that looks similar to bandanas.  I think it looks very country and masculine.  The boys name banners only have bandanas on the ends. Overall, this project only cost me $2 for the twine.  I have about 150 burlap bags on hand and the material was an old skirt! What do you think?   Stay tuned for more details....