Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How To Be Prepared with BOB

A while back I wrote a post on my newly remodeled pantry.  I explained that I had begun to "prepare" for the unexpected events that cause it to be difficult to buy groceries for a period of time.  Today I wish to share with you some other thoughts about how and why you should be prepared (also known as "prepping") for other situations, namely emergency evacuation.

But I'm going to begin with a background story.

A few years ago, we here in the Indiana experienced a Hundred Year Flood.  On that occasion we happened to be visiting my in-laws and were consumed with helping them with the water rising in their basement.  We had planned to go home, but after watching the news the television realized that we couldn't get there if we tried.

Had we been home we would have been stuck at home for a few days.  But, had we lived merely a few miles down the road, we would have been evacuated.  I've thought a lot about this over the last couple of years.

I've decided that I need to be prepared in case 1) I can't leave my house for a few days and 2) in case I must leave my house in a few minutes. 

I have devised a plan.  I haven't yet implemented it, but I'm using this as a motivator to help me (if I post it I am accountable, right?) as well as looking for other thoughts. 

I have 6 children.  My desire is to have a Bug Out Bag (BOB as they are called) for each of them that is packed with - at least 3 pairs of undies and socks, at least one set of long pants/long sleeved shirt and one pair of shorts/short sleeved shirt.  Also an extra toothbrush and maybe a hand towel.  I'm not sure yet whether I will pack each a bag or partner pack them.  I'm pondering other items that need to get packed without consuming too much space (Diapers for the baby, etc.), as it is easy to "over prepare" and have more than you can manage in an emergency.

I have yet to decide what I'm going to do about food.  I know I can't possibly carry enough food for long term, but it would be best to have a few bottles of water and simple snacks (granola bars, raisins, etc) handy that will allow me some flexibility in an emergency.  Should I have each kid pack a few items or keep them all together in one additional food bag? 

In addition to that, I'm packing a BOB for the bathroom.  Since I already buy extra of everything to keep on the shelf, I'm going to keep one set of everything (shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, bandaids, triple antibiotic, diaper wipes, etc.) in that bag.

I already have a nice plastic container with a lid and handle containing flashlights, candles and matches.  It has grown up flash lights and kid flashlights so each kid has their own (reduces fighting).
Besides a BOB for each member of the family and the bathroom supplies, I have decided it is more important that I get the kids in the habit of keeping shoes and a jacket at the shoe/jacket rack/hook area.  I was even more convinced one day as, while we were trying to leave, we had the inevitable 20 shoe search realizing that had this been an emergency she'd be shoeless.

The last thing I want to touch on with prepping for an evacuation is cash.  I know some people never carry cash, for various reasons.  But I urge you to obtain an amount of cash (determined by you through careful consideration) and keep it safe at home.  Don't necessarily carry it in your purse, wallet or car, but keep some at home, preferably in a fire proof safe.   Think about what the situation might dictate.  If money is tight in your world, what would happen if it was Tuesday before payday Friday, and you were evacuated from home.  You must leave and be prepared to provide for your family for a period of days before payday hit.  Could you 1) put gas in your vehicle 2) buy yourself a meal or a few meals 3) provide your family a place to stay?  If you can evacuate in your own vehicle, that helps the situation, but can you get away someplace?  Is your car perpetually on E and you don't have the money to buy enough gas to get to a loved one's house?  Do you need to stay in a hotel?  Cash gives you choices and choices are powerful.

It might help to have a list by the main exit of things you need/plan to grab.  Let the kids know where everything is so they can grab things.  If you have a larger family, assign bigger kids to carry bags for and hold hands of littler kids.  It might help to think "What can I grab in 10 minutes and be on the road?"  You should be planning no more than you and your help (kids, spouse, etc.) can grab in one trip.  Backpacks reduce what you must have in your hands, therefore increasing what you can grab on the go.

What are your thoughts on prepping?  How are you preparing for an emergency that forces you to leave your home quickly?  What have I not mentioned that I might need to pack in our BOBs? 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

How to Homeschool Multiple Grades at One Time

I should really have titled this: 
"How to Homeschool Multiple Grades at One Time? -
 When they all need you!"

I have two 6th graders, two 3rd graders, a Kindergartner (who shall likely promote in January) and a toddler.  No, I have no twins, but God blessed me with girls born 15-20 months after their brothers.  Both girls are motivated and academic kids, both boys are ... boys.  So it works nicely to school them together.  Not sure what I'll do when my 6 year old 3rd grader gets much older, but that's a problem for another day.

By 6th grade children ought to be able to do most of their school by themselves.  And my girl can.  But my boy, who is very gifted with his hands and ability to think (except as it pertains to how to stay out of trouble), is not gifted with academic motivation and struggles with his reading still. 

So inevitabley, we start school with great intentions, but then the "baby" gets into mischief, the oldest can't keep himself on track, the oldest girl can't focus because someone is breathing, the 3rd graders are whining they need my help and the Kindergartener is happily coloring a picture.  Chaos ensues and we aren't able to keep up with everything we need to do. 

So I'm trying a new plan, I've pondered it for a LONG time, sure that it can't work.  But desperation causes willingness to try, and the desperate jump for any liferope they see.

I'm doing school in stages, setting aside time that each grade gets mommy, and the others are on baby duty.  They are responsible for playing with him, keeping him contented and out of trouble while I do school with the other grades.  Yesterday was the first trial day, and it was a shortened day, so that we only managed to get one grade done, so I can see problems arising there. 

I want to know, have any of you other homeschooling mommas tried anything like this?  If so, what were your experiences?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hearts, Minds, Mouths and Hands

I've been very displeased lately with the way my children talk to each other.  I am certain it is "normal" but it doesn't make me very happy to hear them so unkind to one another.  Especially as I know they are all really kind-hearted children.
Yesterday I started our morning with some bible reading/discussion time over the following verses:
  1. Philippians 4:8

    Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
  2. Ephesians 6:10-17

    10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 
  3. 2 Corinthians 10:1-6

    By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete. 

    And this quote

    "Be Careful what you think... your thoughts become your words... your words become your actions... your actions become your habits... your habits become your character... your character is everything"

    We discussed all these things in the context of taking our thoughts captive, learning to control our thoughts in the spiritual battle that is within us.  We discussed being called to stop our wrong thinking and not indulge ourselves in it.  The kids themselves brought up the Armor of God, able to explain most of it, and it tickled me that the verse I wanted to tell them next (Ephesians 6:12) was located just prior to the Armor of God that they were quoting to me as we discussed spiritual battle.

    I think they got some good information.  I told them that I would expect them to and hold them accountable for learning to control their tongues and thoughts.  They seemed to really understand how our thoughts spill out into our character.

    My question:  How often do I remember this?  Am I the only momma guilty of teaching a lesson that I realize perhaps was more meant for me than for my kids?

    I'm linking this to Raising Homemakers.  Check out other blogs to help encourage you in raising your children.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tips and Tricks for Packing with a Larger Family

My family just returned from a weekend trip to Camp.  We attended a local camp's Family Camp, a weekend they set aside for families to enjoy camp life together.  It was fun.  The kids had a good time.  Mommy and Daddy had a good time.  We got very wet.  And today is that day - put it all away day!  (Trying to have some enthusiasm here.)
I'm really not sure which is worse, Packing Day or Put it Away Day.  Okay, Put it Away Day is worse.  At least on Packing Day, the kids are motivated to help.  We've learned a few things that help make packing easier for a larger family.
I typed up a packing list for the kids, another checklist (they love their checklists). This allowed them to check off the items they need and tells them how many of each thing.  Once they have checked off all the items, they bring the stack to me for verification.  They are then free to pack their items.
You may be able to see in the picture in this post the tubs we use for kids clothes.   We have discovered that using one of these tubs to put their clothes in (or two depending on how long of a trip it is) helps in the packing in the vehicle because they stack nicely.  They also help with storing in the hotel/condo/cabin.  If you take items out to put in drawers during a longer stay, then the empty tubs stack nicely.  If you keep the clothes in them then you can stack them nicely in a corner or closet out of the way.  It helps cut down on the visual clutter.  They also double as dirty laundry hampers/baskets.  And they don't need to be "stored" when not on vacation.
Take an assortment of plastic bags, both trash bags and zippy bags.  You will need them for something - dirty laundry, dividing snacks while driving, covering car seats that have been peed in and cannot be washed yet, gathering trash in vehicles, etc.
Having one central shower caddy helps.  I put (or had a minion put) all the towels in a laundry basket and all the shower stuff in a caddy and all the toothbrushes in a large schoolbox (have to use the hundreds of those things hanging around for something).  This was helpful because I didn't have to worry about soap spilling in a bag as usual and the basket was great for dirty towels and laundry at the end of the trip.
But, after all this, I've yet to really make packing easy and fun (for me).  It is easier each time, but there is still a lot I have to learn.  I'd love to hear from you.  Even if your family isn't "larger" than average, please comment.  Do you have tips and trick to make packing easier or more fun?

I'm posting this in the Welcome Home Link-Up.  Check out other blogs from moms embracing life as homemakers!

Holiday World 2011!

Holiday World 2011!

Baby # 6

Baby # 6
Welcome to the world and welcome to our crazy family!

Fort Benning

Fort Benning
We finally made it to Georgia!!!

Just a day at the park!

Just a day at the park!

My Hero!

My Hero!
I don't do dead things. Fortunately for me, God gave me boys!

Much awaited 2009 PJs from Daddy!

Much awaited 2009 PJs from Daddy!
Daddy and Grandma make Jammies every year for the kids, They love it!

Christmas in PJs

Christmas in PJs
Don't I just have the cutest kids?

2010 Jammies

2010 Jammies
Once again Daddy pulled it off. They look cute!

Round 2 birthday parties

Round 2 birthday parties
Cake number 1 of 3 done. I am so not an artist, but I think it came out pretty well!

My Girls

My Girls
Borrowed dance clothes, my girls sure look cute.

Couped up

Couped up
More images below showing the children feeling a bit "couped up" from the long winter!

Chickens: Take 2

Chickens: Take 2
Cute chicks!

The robot cake. I am glad my kids' standards aren't as high as mine!

Tree Climbers

Tree Climbers

Summer Fun!

Summer Fun!
Hi Daddy! Hope you are having fun at work!

This one is so bad, I had to label the cake so you would know it's not a cow!

Dressed for Church!

Dressed for Church!
Come as your favorite Bible character night!

Too cute for words!

If the boy wasn't so tall, I could get a picture of his face!

Establishing the pecking order!