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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Get Home Bag

Last week, I wrote about 20 items to keep in your vehicle in case of emergencies. You can read that post here. I mentioned a Get Home Bag (GHB) as one of those items. I thought I would go into more detail about what that is and why it is useful.

Get Home Bag

What is a Get Home Bag?

 A Get Home Bag (GHB) is a bag with all the supplies that you will need to get back home.

Why might you need a Get Home Bag? 

Natural disasters, weather related emergencies, or even terrorist attacks are some examples of when you might need to use your GHB.

How much to put in your Get Home Bag?

I like to have supplies that will last for at least 24 hours in my bag. The farthest I usually drive is 25 to 30 miles away from home. If I could walk 20 minutes per mile it would take 8 and a 1/2 hours to walk home if I walked steadily and did not take breaks. I will most likely have little ones with me, will have to walk off-road, and over hills.....we will have to take breaks! Therefore, we will be prepared to spend the night outside.

What kind of bag should you use as a Get Home Bag?

Get Home Bag
Lightweight, Water-Resistant Hiking Backpack

There are several different styles of bags that you could use as a GHB. I like to use a backpack (like the one above), but you could use a messenger bag, a large hand bag, or a 5.11 PUSH Pack. It's important that your GHB look normal. You don't want to stand out in the crowd. Someone who is not as prepared as you might realize that you have supplies that they want.

What should you put in your Get Home Bag?

Your GHB should be lightweight. Keep it under 15 pounds. With that said, here is a list of items that I like to keep in my GHB.

1) Emergency Tube Tent: this will keep you off the ground and out of the rain, wind, or snow.
2) Emergency Sleeping Bag: in addition to the tent, you will be warm and dry.
3) 550 Paracord: there are so many uses for cordage!
4) LifeStraw Personal Water Filter: you can stick this into a puddle, pond, or creek and drink without getting sick. Much smaller and lighter than water bottles.
5) 400 Calorie Food Bars: these are not what you want to snack on, but they will give you the energy you need to get home. Rotate these so that they do not expire.
6) Weather Appropriate Change of Clothes: these should be replaced twice a year. Extra pair of socks. Hat and gloves for the winter.
7) First Aid Kit: Homemade (be sure to include Moleskin - works wonders for blisters) or one like the Ultralight Adventure Medical Kit.
8) Knife: I like the Smith and Wesson Search and Rescue Fixed Blade Knife - this can be used for protection as well as cutting rope or anything else that needs cutting. This weighs a little over a pound, but can be multipurpose.
9) Protection - if you carry a gun, it should not be in your GHB, although you could include extra ammunition. You might put pepper spray or a tazer in your GHB.
10) At least 2 ways to start fire: I prefer a lighter and water-proof matches with Vaseline soaked cotton balls.
11) Flashlight with extra batteries. I like the small LED flashlights.
12) Map and Compass - you should also learn how to use these if you don't already know.
13) Multitool: these have pliers, knives, a can opener, and a bottle opener. Very handy tool to have!
14) Hand wipes and hand sanitizer.
15) Chapstick with SPF

Click here for a printable Basic Get Home Bag Pack List from Stephanie Dayle at American Preppers Network.

Each member of your family needs their own GHB (if they are old enough to carry one). I have two little ones so I will carry their food and clothes in my bag and they will share my tent and sleeping bag. This is something I hope we never have to use, but like I said last week: it's better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. If you have any comments or suggestions, please don't hesitate to add them!

For more information check out these blog posts:
American Preppers Network's Get Home Bags for Everyday People. Why You Need One.
Tactical Intelligence.Net's Get-Home Bag.
The Prepper Journal's Prepping 101 - Get Home Bag

Sunday, May 24, 2015

20 Items to Keep in Your Vehicle for Emergencies

I don't know about you, but I spend a lot of time in my vehicle. I take the kids to their grand parents' while I'm at work, to the doctor, the dentist, to homeschool events, and to hang out with friends. I go to the grocery store, to my own doctor, to pay bills, etc. As a family, we go on field trips and vacations. You get the picture. I know I'm not alone in all this traveling. You do it, too. There are certain items that we should always keep in our vehicle "just in case." We hope to never have to use them, but it would be better to have them and not need them rather than need them and not have them.  

Here is a list of 20 items that the Hubby and I decided would be best to keep in my vehicle. 


Comment below if you have any other suggestions!

20 Items to Keep in Your Vehicle for Emergencies

Monday, May 11, 2015

Spring Cleaning Part 3 - The Bathroom

This is the next part in my Spring Cleaning Series. Click here for the Kitchen Checklist and here for the Living Room Checklist.

Spring Cleaning the Bathroom Checklist

We have only one small bathroom in our house for six people. I would love to have another bathroom, but one positive is that I only have one to worry about cleaning. Organization is a necessity with tight spaces. (We are not the most organized people on the planet.) We do try, though.

1) Empty, clean, and reorganize the linen closet. This closet holds towels, sheet sets, trash bags, cleaning supplies, extra shampoo and soap, razors, tooth paste, tooth brushes, etc. At this time, it's a good idea to throw out expired products, things we will never use, and empty packages (it never fails that there will be an empty package for light bulbs in there). After all that stuff is gone, it is easy to reorganize the shelves. They never stay that way for long, but I can only imagine how bad it would get if I never did this. I do the same thing with the under-the-sink cabinet and the over-the-toilet cabinet.

2) Remove items from shelves, clean, and reorganize. It's Kat's job to clean the bathroom every week. She does a really good job, but clutter still manages to accumulate on the shelves of the over-the-toilet cabinet. This is a great time to declutter, clean, and reorganize.

3) Wash the walls and dust anything on them. With a small bathroom, I don't have a great deal of space for items to hang on the walls, but I know that others do. This type of dusting is more in depth than the weekly dusting things get. Things need to be removed and wiped down with a soft cloth before replacing them.

4) Clean mirror. We use Windex and paper towels to clean our mirrors. Others like to use vinegar and newspaper. I've read of some using coffee-filter papers to clean mirrors because it won't leave anything behind. An interesting tip I read in "How Clean is Your House?" by Kim Woodburn and Aggie MacKenzie is to rub a little shaving foam all over the mirror and wipe off. Supposedly, the mirror won't steam up next time. I might give this a try!

5) Clean sink and fixtures. Again, these are cleaned every week, but this is a great time to work on built up limescale that has been ignored. You can use lemon juice to remove this from non plated faucets. Just rub on, leave for a few minutes and then remove thoroughly. (This is also from "How Clean is Your House?")

6) Clean toilet inside and out. Work on those hard to reach places that sometimes get overlooked. (Especially by teenage daughters ready to get done.)

7) Remove, wash, and replace shower curtains. Plastic liners can be washed in the washing machine. Just hang them back up in the shower wet. I like to wash and dry my cloth liner with my towels.

8) Clean tub and fixtures. You can use the same method for limescale in the bathroom as you can in the kitchen. I like to use Tilex to help fight the mildew. Ugh!

9) Sweep and mop floors. After everything else has been washed there will be dust and debris that has fallen to the floor. The last thing to do is sweep or vacuum it up and then mop with a good sanitizing mop solution. I really like Mr. Clean Liquid Muscle with Febreeze. It smells wonderful!!!!

I wish you good luck with your Spring Cleaning! I am beginning to think I won't be done with mine until Summer, but better late than never, I guess. Hahaha! To print a PDF checklist for the bathroom, move your mouse over the picture below and then click on the square with the arrow in it.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Free Printable Kindergarten Memories Book

Jay graduates Kindergarten in a few weeks. We will be participating in a ceremony with our Homeschool group. I'm really looking forward to it! While searching for cute graduation poems, I came across an idea that I couldn't pass up. A Kindergarten Memories book! How cute is that? I put together one for Jay to work on these next few weeks. I thought I would share. Let me know what you think!

Printable Kindergarten Memories Book

Click on the PDF below to print!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Toddler Lunch Ideas

Baby Jay had her first birthday in April. She has always been a "good eater". You know, one of those babies that will eat whatever you give them. She has really enjoyed the baby food pouches. (So have I!) I think it's time, though, to rely less on those pouches and more on foods that she can pick up and feed herself. Especially since she doesn't always want to eat them anymore. My goal is to give her a good healthy variety of foods so that she gets all the vitamins and other good stuff that she needs.

Toddler Lunch Ideas for My One Year Old

Toddler Lunch Ideas

I work part-time 5 days a week. I'm very blessed that I can take the kids to their grandparents' house rather than a Daycare. (Not to offend anyone that takes their children to a Daycare. We do what we have to do.) I like to send breakfast and lunch for them so that it's not a hardship on their grandparents to feed them. They do provide the snacks, though, because one of their favorite things to do is spoil the Grandkids with goodies.

I really enjoyed packing Baby Jay's first lunch last night! It's the little things in life, right?

Toddler Lunch Box
Baby Jay's First Packed Lunch

I put left over fajita chicken, cooked carrots, cheese stick, and cooked diced fruit (all cut into small pieces) into cute mini GladWare storage containers that have SpongeBob on them. Again...the little things...

Toddler Lunch Cups
Toddler Lunch Cups

In the future, I plan on sending mini sandwiches made with peanut butter and jelly, tuna salad, chicken salad, and egg salad. She likes lunch meat cut into small bites, soft vegetables and fruits, and goldfish. I will send any leftovers that are appropriate for her age. She obviously couldn't eat a fajita, but she could eat some of the chicken. The other night she enjoyed Cheesy Spaghetti Squash with us. (Spaghetti made with spaghetti squash instead of noodles with mozzarella cheese melted on top).  There are so many ideas for us out there.

Here are a few links that I found helpful:

Chaos and the Kitchen: 100 Finger Foods for Infants
The Eyes of a Boy: Quick & Healthy Toddler Meal & Snack Ideas
The Culinary Couple: Eating with a Purpose

For more ideas check out my Pinterest board Toddler Meals.

If you have any ideas please share!
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