Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Playing with Food

We completed another healthy challenge (for my family competition) with the kids yesterday.  (Read about our first challenge here.) This time they used fruits and vegetables to create some kind of food art and then had to eat their creation.  I prepped different fruits and veggies and the kids went to work.
We ended up with  variety of creations.  Bugaboo was lucky to get anything on his plate.  He was eating as fast as we could offer him different foods. This kid LOVES his fruits and veggies! He did carefully place the half-eaten banana inside the pepper ring.
Princess decided to make a person.  She copied from some of the other kids, but asked about having little carrot pieces for hair and decided on a strawberry "belly button."
Little Miss Sunshine created a chef.  She was thrilled when I bought mushrooms since she has been begging for them for ages.   That made a perfect hat and she got creative with other fruits and veggies and some toothpicks.
Mr. Adventure started with a plan to make a trash can containing each fruit or vegetable.  I'm not sure what message that was supposed to make. He decided to change to this person design.  Not too bad, right?
The Author made this cute little chick.  It's almost too cute to eat.
The Artist attempted to create a geek-inspired scene.  This is Loki (in the top middle) and frienemies.  There's the Hulk, Ironman, Mjolnir, bow and arrow, and the Black Widow symbol.
The next time you hear, "I'm bored!"  why not break out the food and let the kids get creative.  The only catch -- they have to eat whatever they make.  Mine all did great at the devouring part, too.  The only food left was on Bugaboo's plate, and he probably ate the equivalent of two plates snacking while sculpting.
If you happen to be looking for a great resource for produce, check out Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op to see if they're available in your area.  We have enjoyed being able to try new foods and always having a variety of produce.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Emergency Preparedness - 72-hour kits

Today I thought I'd share something that is important to me and taking care of my family -- emergency preparedness.  As long as I can remember, we have received counsel from church leaders to be prepared and have a year's supply of food as well as emergency supplies for 72 hours.  Over the years, we put together bits here and there and figured we were good.  I even had small backpacks for each of the kids with some clothes and a few granola bars and some hard candy, thinking we would be good to go.
A couple years ago I started to feel like we needed to do more (living in tornado country, there is always the possibility that we might have to leave our home), so I started doing some research and found that although our preparations were okay, there was definitely room for improvement.  I found one site in particular that I used as a resource for much of my planning, especially food ideas.

I realize that there are many options for what to include in a kit and each person/family should individualize to their own needs.  Here's a breakdown of our 72-hour kits.
Each person has their basic supplies in a backpack.  This makes them easily portable if we need to evacuate.  Most of them are the standard-sized school-type backpacks on the left.  This provides several different pockets for storage and enough room for the basics.  The middle one is a small backpack for Bugaboo to carry.  His only contains his clothes and personal first aid kit.  His food and diapers are in one of the larger backpacking packs - parent packs in our case.
Here's the basic contents of a pack:  clothing, 3 food packs, water, money (right now, we have $40 in $1 bills in each of the parent packs).  Each pack also contains a personal first aid kit.

Our clothing consists of a jacket or sweatshirt, lighter shirt, pants, 3 pairs underwear, 3 pairs socks.  They're all packaged in a ziplock bag to help them stay dry.  We check the sizing every six months when we rotate some of the food.  Whatever doesn't fit gets passed down to the next child.
Each pack also has a personal first-aid kit.  I found the little beach safes in Target's Dollar Spot a couple years ago, but haven't seen them since.  (I did a quick google search and found some available inexpensively on Amazon or Oriental Trading.)  Each one contains a whistle on a colorful lanyard, tweezers, nail clippers, emery board, disposable gloves, gauze pads and several band-aids.  You could also add alcohol wipes, small pencil, paper, unbreakable mirror, safety pins, etc.
It may not be the greatest first-aid kit, but it will do for little emergencies.  We have a larger kit in one of the parent packs.

Food is one area where I've found the greatest variety in emergency kits.  You can find kits that utilize dehydrated food to be small and lightweight, MREs, etc.  In case of an evacuation, we will be dining on pudding, canned pasta, mandarin oranges, protein bar, 2 granola bars, pop-tarts, dried fruit, fruit snacks, candy bar, hard candy and raisins.
Each day has the same food, so you eat one bag per day.  The food contains about 2000 calories per day.  We figure that parents might need more, but we can use whatever the younger ones don't eat.  I opted to use food that is not dehydrated so we don't have to have as much water just to rehydrate the food.  Each pack also includes 6 half-liter water bottles, 2 for each day.  This is much less than the water we each need, so we need to figure out how to carry extra.  If we have a water source, we can always refill the bottles.
Other items included in the parent packs:  diapers, wipes, feminine needs (our teenage daughters have some in their individual packs), toilet paper (pull the core out of the middle so it smashes flatter).
Finally, something to keep us busy since we most likely won't have a tv if we have to evacuate.  We have a couple of card games, travel-size scriptures, and activity books.
This post is by no means a complete one size fits all kit.  We still need to add important documents, individual toiletries, bedding, etc.  But, at least I have some peace of mind that we have some supplies if we are in a situation where we need to evacuate.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

New Design

Notice anything different on the blog?   The lovely Sue from As It Seems Designs took my current design elements and suggestions and created what you now see.  I particularly love the signature graphic.  It fits me perfectly!  Thanks Sue!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Fitness Dice

My family has been doing a health challenge for the past couple months.  It is partly a "Biggest Loser" contest and partly making changes to add healthier eating and fitness into your schedule.  Last night we completed one of the kid challenges for the month.  It was a lot of fun, except for the push-ups even as a grown-up, so I thought I'd share.

Fitness Dice
Materials needed:  1 die

Instructions:  Roll the die.  This number determines your activity.
1 - Push-ups
2 - Sit-ups
3 - Squats
4 - Leg lifts
5 - Toe touches
6 - Jumping jacks
Roll the die again.  Multiply the number by 3 and do the activity this many times. 

We each did 10 rounds.  Push-ups were definitely the most difficult.  Most of the others weren't nearly as hard.  All in all, it is a strategy I will keep around -- it could be a great summertime boredom buster.  You could do a couple rounds during commercials or take a "fitness break" for 10 minutes a few times a day.  Let me know if it works for you.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Kids'll keep you on your toes

A couple weeks ago when I was gone to my Woodbadge scout training, Princess decided to try her hand at cutting hair.  She "thought it would look cuter" if she cut the sides.  I wasn't going for the resulting mullet look.
I whipped out the scissors and did my best to cut everything even(ish).  There are still issues around her face, but at least it isn't a throwback to the 80's.
I was shopping and found the cutest pair of pajamas for Bugaboo.  I told him I wanted to take a picture, so this was his response:
His top says, "Mom's 24 hr. Wrecking Service" and does that ever describe him!  He also explored a new career path while I was gone -- mural drawing.  He found a couple markers and decorated the wall near the top of our stairs.  
I don't plan on hiring either one of them in their chosen career path without some more training and experience, but they sure do make life fun.
I guess I'll keep them around for a while. :)