Monday, April 22, 2013

Spring Cleaning for Kids

     Some ideas just come to me but most ideas are sparked by seeing something.  I have always had some sort of something FUN for the kids to help me clean up with...remember the googly eyes on the dustpan???  They however are getting older and so they are capable to help more.  I was in the Dollar Tree recently and as I was running out something caught my eye but I had no time to ponder there usefulness then.  Fast forward a couple of weeks and the idea sparked by a glance at these was complete. 

     I bought all coordinating items and baskets to match along with little clips that match as well.  I also bought Method green cleaners for safety for my kiddos hands.  Each basket has different cleaning jobs attached to it using the clip(lists not done at time of pictures). I love the cute little bee, ladybug, and frogs on these cleaning tools...ADORABLE!!!

    Here are the lists(I just hand wrote them on index cards, nothing cutsie)
 that coordinate with each basket:

Green-baseboards, floors, walls  Red-sinks, tubs, vacuum(its red)  Yellow- windows and walls too 

We bought a small vacuum cleaner just under 2 years ago for about $35.00 at a local big box store
and it has been perfect for the kiddos to use to vacuum their rooms. 
The plan is that we will work room to room together getting them all clean and fabulous.  The first part of the process is underway it is called cleaning out!!!
Funny little note...the morning after I put these together I had them sitting on the table ready for me to add cleaners to them.  When I came home from the gym this is what I saw.  Yes fun cleaning supplies do work.  I don't know what it is but they love them.  Everyday since this picture at least one of the baskets has been hauled off to do some cleaning by each of my kiddos. 

Now this didn't happen over night nor is my house the cleanest thing around but I have taught them to have pride in their home, that you can feel the spirit more fully in a clean environment, you feel better in general when your home is more put together, and we should have a "house of order".   I want to state again our house is NOT the cleanest or most organized.  I do have weeks like spring break were we did nothing but have fun and the house(the basement playroom in particular) took a back seat to FUN!!!  I paid for it so did they it took 2 weeks to pick it all back up but that time together was worth it.  I also choose fun over cleaning most of the time...I will have a perfectly clean house when they are gone until then I will make cleaning together as fun as possible!!!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

My 5 Year Experiment

     Over 5 years ago I became more serious about being more prepared in case of an emergency, in particular in cases of a long term emergency. I had always been a person that bought items that were on sale in bulk thanks to the teachings of my grandmother, so having a 3 months supply of foods we ate regularly on hand was a habit I had from the time I moved out on my own when I was 18 so that part of storing food for my family was taken care of. It was the long term storage of food that I needed to work on.   I first started by getting a years supply of wheat, beans, and rice and 2 weeks of water.  Once I was done with those items I added oats, dried apple slices, and soup mix. You can read about the importance of emergency preparedness in regards to food here.

     As I was doing research into emergencies and in particular children in emergencies, I noted a trend.  The words familiar and comfort occurred over and over again.  In emergencies we need to keep things as the same as we possibly can.  I never in this time or since came across a 72 hour kit for children without some sort of sweet treat in them.  In times of crisis those sweet treats can become an uplift and familiar thing to a life that is thrown out of whack.  In our personal 72 hour kits we have sweet treats but in our long term storage we had nothing and as I did more and more research there really was nothing that lasted on your shelf for more than a few months.  I decided I would have a couple of snack bins that would rotate snacks for the kids but I still desired a long term solution.  I am not talking 20 years, I would be happy with 5 years.  I then started researching MRE's and the desserts they have.  They can last up to 7 years but lets be honest they are not that good and this would not be a familiar treat.  I can not tell you which MRE website I was on when I took note of something they had a chewy chocolate treat that was wrapped in a mylar wrapping but for $2.00 a pop I was not sold.  I looked into that chewy treat a bit more and it seemed to me it was a tootsie roll.  This is when I had an idea, an idea that might just work.

     I went to Wal-Mart and picked up 2 huge bags of tootsie rolls for about 4.50.  I had some mylar food grade pouches and oxygen packets already(I recently found some mylar pouches(see picture below) and oxygen packets at Amazon and the great thing about the pouches they can be sealed shut with a household iron) and so my 5 year experiment began.  I dumped the tootsie rolls in the pouch added 2 oxygen packets for good measure(1 could work) and sealed the bag up.  I wrote the date on the front of the pouch with the item and then promptly hide them in with the pouches of beans(who would look there for tootsie rolls...haha).  I had no idea if this was going to work 5 years ago when I tried it but I thought it would be fun to see if it worked.

     It is funny I forgot all about those tootsie rolls hidden in my beans for years, then we moved and with us came our food storage and the rediscovery of my little project...a little over 3 years had passed at that time and so back in with their friends the beans they returned again to be forgotten.  Then out of no where this past February I remembered the Tootsie Roll Project and was excited to realize March was a few days away and that would mark my 5 years and then I forgot about them again until one night last week I remembered them with great excitement so I ran down dug them out and ran them up the stairs(okay my hubby did that) and I relished in the moment of cutting that bag open to see what I would find.  Would they be hard as rocks?  Or loose their flavor?  Would they be a gooey mess?  Or in all hopes would they be perfect and I had discovered my long term treat?  I was so surprised they looked just like the day I dumped them into that mylar pouch. They were still the perfect tootsie roll chewy firmness.  Now for the taste...they tasted just like tootsie rolls taste.  My experiment worked.  I had found my long term storage sweet treat and my kiddos were excited too!!!

Be Awesome,


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Be Prepared For {April Fools}

     I always have sooo much fun getting my children on April Fools Day and this year was no different.  Our plans came together magnificently and this by far was my favorite.  It was hard for me not to do anything ALL day and wait for my hubby to come home but it was so worth it. 

    He is the actor in the family my husband, I could barley keep it together.  He comes in the door after work and emergently calls a family meeting.  As some were lagging behind he exclaims this is an emergency family meeting and everyone needed to come right now.  As we all gather and me about ready to burst into laughter he tells the children that he just heard on the radio that all the homes in our neighborhood need to be evacuated because the water tower had a structural problem.  He explained we had 10 minutes to get our things together and leave.  He gave them specific instructions about packing an outfit and grab a blanket.  I can tell you the looks on their faces couldn't believe it and then a bit of panic began.  He then says this is not time to panic this is time to just get this done and panicking only makes it worse.  They packed their bags super quickly and came back within 2 minutes and asked what can we do to help.  They filled water bottles, grabbed snacks, and packed the car and we left in roughly 5 minutes from the announcement we needed to leave.  Like I said my hubs is the actor in the group he pretended like he called the elders quorum president to let him know we were okay and as we were driving he was flipping through the am channels to see if there was any news.  As we were driving they had a ton of questions like what happens if our house is flooded?  What happens if our furniture is all wet?  Etc...  We drove to our local pizza place and of course the kids asked why we were there and we just said we might as well eat and have a family meeting to decide what to do next.  This made sense to them because this was not the first time we had a family meeting at the pizza place.  We all sit down and we tell them how proud we were of them and how they worked as a team, how they didn't panic, and how they were big helpers and that we are so glad we are safe on this April Fools Day!!!  The looks on their face PRICELESS as this marinates in their minds.  We got them and we got them of the kids exclaimed, "You guys always do some so great on April Fools Day!" 

    With the relief that our home was fine we had quite a enjoyable evening with our kiddos.  I really loved this April Fools Day joke because it was more than just a joke we learned a ton about how prepared and not prepared we were in an emergency.

    What we learned  is:

1.  We need to move water onto the main level. I spent time filling water bottles because it was faster than dragging them out of the basement. 

2.  Need more cash on hand...we are not cash carriers and so we had very little cash when we left and if ATMs aren't working we would have been in trouble.

3.  Our camping bins needed to be better organized and better labeled so we knew exactly which ones to grab to throw into the van.

4.  Need to keep our gas tank more full.  We had in between a half and quarter tank which is fine but in an emergency is not going to get you very far.

5.  Our children are great in an emergency.  They kept calm and collected not only that they were a huge help.

    It is funny how a simple thing as a April Fools Day joke turned into this huge learning experience for us as parents and for our children as well.

Be Awesome.