True to form, the National Hurricane Center starts naming storms and I start cleaning my house. So naturally when Hurricane Irma started looming weeks ago I cleaned the toilets and scrubbed the showers. I went through the pantry and the coat closet. I’ve even put two large baskets aside for our local Hotline thrift store. Considering I live most of my days in a house that is in complete disarray with messes made by the tiny gang of humans that I made myself, I don’t know what it is about a storm coming that makes me feel like I have to get the house completely in order! Quite honestly, I prepare for hurricanes the same way that I prepare to bring home a new baby. So with the mandatory visitor evacuations working their way up to our town with Hurricane Maria just 300 miles off of our coast, It’s a complete nesting situation over here right now!
After my random house projects are completed I always make sure to double check my hurricane kit and make sure it’s in order. Of course, like most coastal households, we have a kit that contains batteries, flashlights, lanterns and a radio. We also have our standard first aid kit with anti-bacterial ointments, general medications and bandages. Inside this kit I also keep a knife, a local and state map, cash and emergency telephone numbers. Thankfully, we have never had to use this kit and we’ve endured a good amount of storms.
I will tell you that the best thing that I ever did was create a kid friendly hurricane kit. The trick to this one is that the kids cannot know about it at all! My reason for that is two-fold. Number 1, then they can’t sneak into it on a general rainy day because it sits on a top shelf taunting them. Number 2, they are completely surprised should you find yourself in a situation where you do not have electricity for an extended period of time!
To create this kit:
1.) Clips: I cannot tell you how many hours we have logged as a family in a tent. Not a camping tent but a home-made tent that is strung about the living room using bed sheets. Buy some sturdy clips and you have hours of entertainment.
2.) Board Games. Grab one new board game and keep it tucked away. My suggestion is to make it a good ol’ fashioned board game that doesn’t require batteries or a second mortgage on your house. Something simple but competitive that will keep everyones attention! We love Clue and Uno for some old classics!
3.) Imaginative Games: Put together some tickets for charades. Make sure you have a broom stick handy to break out the limbo. Teach the kids the electric slide. Throw it back and make some memories.
4.) Something Special: I always have a few little treats for my kiddos hiding in my hurricane kit. A new craft, book or some stickers so that they can get creative. My kids are both constantly drawing or creating so this is usually a great time-filler for days that we are stuck inside, especially if we don’t have electricity. I grabbed some of these books for Penny's surprise because I know that she loves them!
5.) Snacks: Toss in their favorite treat. Make it something that you wouldn’t typically allow them to have! I’m too cheap to buy Joey beef jerky on a regular basis so that’s the thing I always get for him. Penny loves juice boxes but I rarely allow her to have them so I’ll add a few of those in for her.
My number one suggestion to a kid friendly hurricane kit is that you keep it a secret and don't break it all out at once! Never show all your cards, mamas! Space out your goodies so that they last as long as possible!
Of course we have our standard hurricane prep kit too!
1.) Bottled Water and a Refillable Water Container like this one that I bought on Amazon last year. We never have to worry about the stores running out of bottled water now because we can fill it up for drinking and brushing teeth. I also fill a sink for washing dishes so that drinking water is not contaminated. Finally, we fill up our bathtubs for bathing should we be without water long enough that we can’t run a warm bath.
2.) Flashlights. I love the lantern versions for big storms and for camping so we have several of them. I really like the Energizer Weather Ready 360 LED Area Lights from Home Depot. They sell them on Amazon too but they are $22 when Home Depot sells them for $10. We also splurged on an Orcatorch waterproof flashlight that works underwater as a spotlight. I hope we never have a reason to need an underwater flashlight but if we do, we are prepared. I keep a lantern in each bedroom and one for the kitchen.
3.) Food. Our purchases are pretty simple for food prep. I buy this entire row. ;)
And maybe this one too....
But I usually stock up on granola bars, peanuts, fruit, cereal, pb&j supplies and canned goods like stews and beans. While stocking up for the potential of Irma I found these awesome chicken packs and felt like if I needed to, I could make a pretty good meal out of them! They are pre-cooked so that’s a huge bonus.
I also buy these terrible-for-you Cup O Noodles because a hot meal really can’t be replaced if you are without one for days at a time. We usually make very healthy meals so to buy canned goods and cup o noodles can feel a bit wasteful since it’s really just a precaution. If we don’t need them, we donate them to the local food bank because one thing is for sure, they will need donations after a storm! What are your go-to food items when a storm is coming?
4.) Battery powered kettle. To cook said cup o noodles but more importantly to make POUR OVER COFFEE because being cooped in the house with kids and no electricity...You’re welcome.
5.) A good book. I just got "Class Mom” but have been working so much that I haven’t had much time to read it. Am I wrong for half-heartedly wanting a day on my couch with family and good books? :)
6.) Hand sanitizer and sanitizer wipes. ALL OF THEM.
7.) Pet supplies
8.) Disposable plates, bowls and cups so you don’t have to waste water with dish washing.
9.) Extra fuel
10.) Inflatable raft or boat for dire emergencies! I hated to spend the money on this but I’m sticking to my guns and keeping it set aside for an emergency and I hope we never have to use it.
We're hunkering down now. We love a good storm for the school closings and the togetherness but we are praying for everyone that has been affected by all of the storms lately and hope our little sandbar makes it through this one unscathed!
How do you prepare for storms with your family?