The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Saturday 9 September 2017

Pantries and Preparedness. Hurricane Preparedness by Kelsey.

I am posting my Pantries and Preparedness post early so that it is available before many readers are impacted by Hurricane Irma.  Also on Monday my house will be full of tradesmen. 

This post is from Kelsey. She recently went through Hurricane Harvey.  Being in Texas I imagined Kelsey well inland and never thought she would face a hurricane.  Then I got this email from her ...

Dear Annabel, 
  Just writing to let you know I may be absent for a while. We are right in the path of Hurricane Harvey. Major wind and flooding is expected. I feel prepared, much because of all your preparedness posts so thank you for that. Your prayers would be much appreciated. I will let you know how we are when it is all over or as soon as we have power if it is lost.
With love, Kelsey

Looking online I found Kelsey was one hour inland and her husband was working right on the coast.  So we had some emails go back and forth. I am including these bits which were as Kelsey prepared for what they knew was coming....

Thank you, Annabel. I am online now keeping track of the storm. It is about to make landfall. It is not bad where I am yet and my husband says where he is it is completely safe. Still I am concerned. Thousands are already without power in Corpus.
 I have lots of water. I have even filled our plastic trash can with water just in case. Also our pantry is full and I will ration as needed. I set our refrigerator on the coldest setting so it will stay cold just a little longer in case we lose power, which I am expecting to happen. Freezers will stay closed. Really I have so many of your preparedness posts and comments from the ladies running through my mind and it has helped a lot. I got all the laundry done, dishes washed, disposables ready, etc. Phone is staying on the charger, flashlights on hand, John's diaper bag full of necessities so we can stay in the hallway, which is the middle of the house. This thing is big, the biggest Texas has seen in a long time. Certainly in my lifetime. I will let you know once it passes how we are. Though it is supposed to stall and stay over us for days. Then they are predicting it will move north and then swoop back down over us again. 
Yes, you are right. This really makes preparedness real and I am already seeing I would like to be more organized about it. Sorry this email is so scatter-brained lol. I'm trying to type fast!

This next bit was after the storm...

Houston is a few hours away from me. Yes, they got hit hard. My sister lives there and although she is ok, she knows many who lost everything. Houston is I think the second largest port in the U.S.. Then of course Corpus is also a major port though not as big. And there are oil refineries all up the coast line. Already the grocery store shelves are bare. We went to the store last night and they had signs up all over saying, "Sorry, out of stock." People from our surrounding areas are shopping at this store as theirs are either simply gone or out of stock also. There are gas stations, too, that are out of gas.
  I have learned so much from Hurricane Harvey and the aftermath, both about my situation and that of other people. First, I am thankful for everyone's prayers and that my loved ones are safe. Colton, John, and I still have a roof over our heads. Many do not. We also have electricity. Thousands and thousands of people don't have it yet with no promise of when it will be back on. And this is just in the neighboring counties! If Harvey had hit Corpus as was predicted I probably would not be able to write this. Instead it hit about half an hour's drive north of Corpus. 
  Before Harvey hit, many people of course headed to the grocery store to prepare. I felt like our pantry was full enough that we could get by for a long time if needed. But we went to the store on Wednesday (the hurricane made landfall on Friday night) as is our usual shopping routine to pick up a few items for my husband's lunches. Wow! The water aisle was wiped clean and the checkout lines were backed up all the way into the aisles. I can't tell you how long I waited to buy lunch meat, two loaves of bread, and bananas! I was glad I was prepared food wise.
 One of the things I was most concerned about was water. I just knew we would lose electricity (it goes out at our house even during a light rain shower) and without it we can't get water. To me, water is the most important thing. We had lots of bottled water and my husband came home from work with an extra case too. Still I felt it was not enough. I think the recommendation is one gallon per person per day. And I know I drink a lot as I am breastfeeding! (I'm so glad I persevered through those struggles! I knew John was taken care of as far as eating!) So I filled jugs, empty mason jars, buckets, trashcans, anything basically that could hold water. We have a Berkey water filter, so if it came down to it, I could use that to filter some of the more yucky water (like from the trashcan). I just kept thinking if I was thirsty I would wish I had filled more things with water! Our house doesn't have a bathtub or I would have filled that up too! Thankfully we never lost electricity but I was prepared.

All things considered, one area I do need to improve on is an evacuation plan. I need to write this up and have a list of things to take, a list of places to go, and a list of phone numbers in case it is not safe for me to stay. Things could have been a LOT worse for us here. I'm not much on taking unnecessary risks. Every situation is different, but I may not want to stay next time. I am amazed at some of the people who stayed along the coast even under mandatory evacuations. It is their right to do so, but it puts not only them in danger but also the first responders who have to go rescue them. In Rockport where the hurricane hit, the city officials told the people who didn't evacuate to write their social security numbers on their arms so their bodies could be identified afterwards! Yes, I would definitely leave!!!
 Anyway, before Harvery hit, I was busy about the house washing ALL the laundry and making sure all the dishes were done. Disposables, matches, candles, flashlights, etc were accounted for. The animals were fed and had a sufficient supply of food. I packed John's diaper bag and then basically sat down to watch the news and wait. 
  Harvey hit at night. It was dark and so we couldn't see anything, only hear. John and I slept in the hallway in the middle of the house where there were no windows. I say slept, I didn't sleep! I prayed, had a few catnaps here and there, watched John like a hawk, and streamed the news live through my phone. The local station had continual coverage and I could tell those poor reporters were sleeping at the station. I kept waiting for the electricity to go off or to hear glass breaking or something!

Kelsey's home was fine and they were all safe.  What an experience to go through.  Especially I think with a young baby.  

With Hurricane Irma coming in I asked Kelsey if she had time to write up anything else she thinks is important  while it is still fresh in her mind and she kindly wrote the following: 

1. Prepare well beforehand. You never know when things like this are going to happen. With hurricanes we have a fair bit of warning, but even preparing a few days in advance is not going to get you as far as if you implement preparedness as a lifestyle. Even though I felt prepared, I kept going through my mind wondering if there was anything else I needed to do. In situations like these, you often don't think as clearly, so it's better to have everything ready before you get to that point! This also prevents you from waiting in long check out lines, facing a shortage of goods, and potentially paying higher prices when supply is low and demand is high. I know one lady who went out a couple days before Harvey hit and bought $300 worth of groceries. I couldn't help but think how much further her money would have gotten her if she had practiced frugal grocery shopping and stocking up throughout the year as opposed to all at once and in a panic.

2. Because there are shortages before and after disasters, be prepared to ration. You can't expect to eat like normal and not run out of food fairly quickly, especially if you are feeding a lot of people or children. Children might get upset because you tell them they can't have this or that snack, but it would be worse if by day 5 you have nothing left at all to give them. This goes for water and also fuel, whether it be for transportation, energy, or cooking.

3. Keep your refrigerator and freezer at the coldest setting and don't open them if the power goes out. I know we all know this, but I felt like I had to police our appliances in case anybody forgot and out of habit went to grab something. Because we stock up during sales, our two deep freezes were full (if they were not, I would have added water jugs to freeze and act as ice packs) and this would mean hundreds of dollars in food waste if things didn't stay cold. For this reason also, a generator is high on our priority list along with fuel to power it.

3. Still on the topic of food, be sure you have a way to eat what you have. If you have lots of canned goods, make sure you have a manual can opener. After Harvey I have decided not to declutter my two spares! Also be sure you have disposable plates, cups, utensils, etc. When water is precious, you don't want to waste it washing dishes. Also remember that, while having dry goods like rice and beans are great to have in your pantry (we have these in bulk), they may not always be practical to cook during an emergency due to how much water it requires to cook them. I'd rather open a can of something and save my water for drinking.

4. Having a baby adds a whole new dimension to preparedness. Talk about feeling like a protective Mama bear! John was my main concern throughout the whole thing and I would have done whatever I could to keep him safe! As for feeding him, I breastfeed him directly so I didn't have to worry about him eating. (Except I knew I needed to stay hydrated and have lots of food for myself!) For other mothers who use bottles, I would say be sure to have a way to wash them. If you pump, it would be a good idea to have a manual one on hand and don't rely on the breast milk you have stored in the freezer in case the power goes out. If you formula feed, have lots of extra cans on hand and enough water to make up the bottles. You know how much your baby eats so prepare accordingly. Your baby is the most important thing and top priority. We also cloth diaper but I have a lot of disposables on hand also. I never want to be stuck washing John's dirty diapers by hand lol! Plus that takes more water. I'm really big on the water thing if you can't tell!

5. Don't depend on other people to help you. If you can get help, great, but don't rely on so and so to take care of you. Prepare yourself because most people won't. I was amazed at the attitudes of people I knew who thought this wasn't really a big deal. Though we didn't experience any damage, we COULD have, and I wasn't about to take any chances. Many people lost everything and like I said, it could have been a lot worse for us personally. This goes for if you need to evacuate as well. If you need to get out, please find a way to get out beforehand. If you don't have a place to stay, go to a shelter. My husband spent Thursday loading people on buses evacuating people, so I know buses were provided by the city. If you decide to stay, be ready to fend for yourself. Once the winds reach a certain speed, EMS and fire are no longer running for the safety of the first responders. So if you need help, you have to wait until its over.

6. You have talked about this before, but make sure you have any medications you need. The pharmacy will be closed.

7. Keep lines of communication open. Know where your loved ones are and what their plans are during the storm and what they will do in case of the "what ifs". I was in communication with my husband, my neighbor, my mom, and my friends in the next county. I kept my phone constantly on the charger so I talked with them the whole time, but if we lost power, I could stop (limit the texts) in order to save my phone battery and still know what everybody was doing.

8. I know some of the ladies have mentioned having a form of entertainment during things like this. I would agree this is helpful especially with children and keeping things relatively calm. I was nervous and tense. I am the only entertainment John needs right now, but if he was older I definitely would need to occupy him and keep a sense of calm. If mom's calm, surely there's no need to worry.

9. Many people in hurricane prone areas already know this, but take a walk around your property and put away or tie down anything that can blow away. You would be surprised what wind can do to even the heaviest objects if strong enough. Large trucks can entirely turn over. That means your bbq pit can too. Trim trees, board up or tape windows, whatever you need to do to prevent damage to your home and keep yourself safe. Obviously stay away from the windows.

10. Have a way to know what's going on. I streamed the news live through my phone because I had electricity to keep it charged. On my preparedness list is a battery operated radio because I'm not sure we have one! After Harvey had passed our area, many radio stations had the phone lines open for callers to report any road closures, trees down, power poles down, etc. so people could be aware of road hazards and power outages. They also called in with tips on dealing with no electricity so this was helpful.

11. Pesticides. I do not like poisons, chemicals, etc. but I also don't like disease carrying mosquitos. This was not something I had thought about until we ran into a relative buying pesticides for her daughter who lives in a flooded area. She said the mosquitos were starting to get very bad. I would have a way to keep them off my body if nothing else and a way to treat bites.

12. Keep some cash on hand. People like it and there's no electricity required!

13. Think long-term, not just a day or two ahead. People are going to be without power for weeks. Schools are shut down indefinitely. Businesses are closed or destroyed, and shelves are empty. Prepare to do without for a long time.

Kelsey also said "thank you to all the Bluebirds for your prayers for our safety, it means a lot to me"  and I certainly know a lot of people were praying.  Now  with Hurricane Irma there are too many readers here plus others in some groups I am in to list. Well, I am fearful to name them incase I miss someone, but many have already mentioned in comments who is in the path.  So pray for them all and everyone. 

As you know neither Kelsey or me are experts in this.  Kelsey is sharing her experience and that is so valuable.  We all have to adapt to our own situation, evacuate if need to,  follow the advice of authorities and listen for instructions.  Once the window of time has closed do not venture out or take any risks!
Thank you so much Kelsey for sharing this information and for taking the time to write this all up when you are so busy and this is all still affecting your area.  And with a baby as well!

If you have experience and tips please add them and also once this hurricane passes please let us know you are ok!  Many prayers and much love. xxx


  1. I'm glad Kelsey and her family are safe. She sounds very wise to be so young.
    This is all really good information. I wish we didn't have to know how to be ready but it is so necessary.
    As you know, we are in the US, in an area without any disasters going on. I'm thankful but also feeling a bit unworthy that life here is normal and good when so many are in horrible situations.
    Thanks for all the valuable info, Annabel

    1. Dear Rhonda,
      Thank you for your kind words. These things aren't pleasant to think about, but as you said it is so necessary to be prepared because you never know when things like this might hit and our "normal" might be gone. Seeing the devastation of Harvey and now Irma can definitely put things into perspective.
      Love, Kelsey

  2. Hi Annabel and thank you Kelsey for posting about your experiences and hints and tips even though it must has been traumatising for you :) .

    I will say that I in my lifetime have been through both a cyclone as a child that came as far down as the Gold Coast where my grandmother was looking after us at the time. My parents were working and drove us to the Gold Coast so I saw a sea of water spread across Brisbane beforehand and on the Gold Coast witnessed buildings falling into the ocean. At Kirra there used to be an ice cream parlour behind Pizza Hut and that is what we saw fall into the ocean. The foreshore of Palm Beach on the Gold Coast used to also have another street that was swallowed up by the ocean too.

    We experienced flooding and our whole yard was a sea of water and we lost power. My grandmother was apt in the fact she was a child of the great depression so made everything from scratch including yoghurt but we had limited supplies of food on hand which was a problem. She used what we had on hand but we ran out and had to wade through some floodwaters with my grandmother hanging onto the 3 of us until we trekked over a lighthouse to higher ground. We got base ingredients being bread, powdered milk, tinned foods and a few other things from memory.

    2 years ago we also experienced a mini tornado here (no warning as it formed above us) at our property which caused massive damage to fences and lifted rooves off houses as well. Our gardens were decimated but fortunately we had harvested and blanched and frozen everything a few days before as I had a bad feeling.

    I cannot emphasise more to have tinned food and water stocks, alternative lighting as well as tapes to tape windows in our homes we can fall back on during these times.

    Hoping my experiences also help others out there.


    1. Dear Sewingcreations15,
      What a scary experience that must have been for you, especially as a child! I agree, during things like that you don't want to have to leave your house for anything. Even after the storm is over, people often underestimate how dangerous moving water can be. I'm glad everyone was ok. Thank you for your comment.
      With love, Kelsey

  3. Dear Bluebirds,
    We are thinking of those in hurricane country all the way down in Australia.
    We are not to tire of asking the God of Jacob for help, so that is what we are doing for you.
    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel,
      Thank you so much for your prayers. The Scripture that kept going through my mind was Luke 8:25 when Jesus rebuked the wind and raging of water and the people said, "What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him." We are responsible for being prudent, but ultimately our Sovereign God is in control and it is he in whom we are to place our trust.
      Love, Kelsey

  4. Kelsey, what you have shared goes along with our experiences with hurricanes. Last fall we got a direct hit from Hurricane Matthew and now we are waiting to see what impact Irma will give us. We are prepared but like you I just keep going over and over in my mind asking, 'what else can I do?' Thank you for sharing your experience, if we would all do this it would help those who chose to take heed, be better prepared.

    1. Dear Patsy,
      Your experience is so valuable and has helped a lot of people, I'm sure. I'm sorry your knowledge has to be put to use again and so soon. I hope you are safe and doing ok.
      With love, Kelsey

  5. To all those in the path of the hurricanes I am praying for you and yours to stay safe and well.
    One thing I want to add to Kelsey's list is an alternative means of toileting. If the power is out the sewerage plants are not working, causing back ups and an inability to flush the loo. A large bucket lined with a heavy duty garbage/trash bag is one alternative. If you have a spare loo seat to put on top great. If not a pool noodle is a cheap alternative. In one cyclone we had flooding and the septic system was not working. With two small children at the time, the bagged bucket was a life saver.
    Love, hugs and prayers for everyone.

    1. Dear Jane,
      That is a very good thing to add to the list! I know many people store water for flushing toilets, and that is good, but if sewage gets backed up it won't help matters at all! Thank you for your tip. It is a very important aspect to consider.
      Love, Kelsey

  6. We also have kept all those in hurricane country in our prayers each night here in our home in Australia. So sad to see the aftermath of it all :( .


    1. Dear Sewingcreations15,
      Your prayers are greatly appreciated. Thank you.
      Love, Kelsey

  7. So glad Kelsey and her family are safe.
    Praying for her family.
    Sue B

    1. Thank you so much, Sue!
      Love, Kelsey

  8. Excellent advice!
    So glad Kelsey and family are safe.
    Prayers for all that are going through all these horrible storms, those who are in the areas of fires, and those enduring the effect of earthquakes.

    1. Dear Cheryl,
      Thank you! There is certainly a lot going on right now. Thank you for your prayers.
      Love, Kelsey

  9. Dear Annabel and Kelsey,

    Thank you both very much for this timely post. I am so VERY happy that you and your family are well, Kelsey!!! As most of you know, I live on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia. We are in the path of Irma. Thanks to all of you lovely Bluebirds I do feel very prepared for what may come my way. I, also, am originally from New Orleans, Louisiana. So I've been through MANY hurricanes in my life. I learned many things from my family about how to withstand a hurricane. I FORTUNATELY did not live in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit. I did, however, feel the effects of Katrina. I had many family members come to live with me and I helped many people find their family in the aftermath of Katrina because I was high and dry here in Georgia! It was an experience I will never forget and people that went through it have still not fully recovered (mentally and emotionally) from it. They refer to life as "before Katrina" and "after Katrina". We also refer to children that were born around the time Katrina hit as "Katrina babies"! I am very close to one of them that I absolutely adore!!!

    There are a couple of things that I can add to the preparedness list -

    1. Have BIKE HELMETS inside your house by the place that you will ride out the storm. I've actually learned this since living in Georgia! Tornadoes are a problem here. I do NOT have a basement! So the best thing I can do is stay in the middle of my house (just like Kelsey did) with something to get under (like a mattress, sofa cushions, etc.) with my bike helmet on!

    2. There are a lot of posts on Facebook right now telling people that they can use their dishwasher as a place to put important papers, pictures, etc. to keep them dry! This is NOT true. If your house was to flood, the water WOULD get inside of the dishwasher. There is actually a Snopes page telling people this. One of the people quoted in the Snopes post is from the place that I lived when I lived in Louisiana. MOST of that parish was GONE after Katrina! Those people KNOW what they are talking about!

    That is all I can think to add. I truly never did think I would be sitting here in Georgia waiting to see what a hurricane would do to us! But, as Kelsey said, I have prepared little by little along with all of you lovely Bluebirds and am so thankful for this community of wonderful people! Prayers are appreciated!

    Much love,

    1. Dear Holley, You mentioned something important that we haven't really covered... how the trauma really can last and what people go through is really not something that can be described!
      Thank you for all your tips. You have had a lot of experiences! It is very interesting what you said about Katrina and before Katrina, after Katrina and Katrina babies. This shows the extend of the impact like a major marker in history!
      I hope things will be ok this time around. I have heard a lot about something else I didnt consider and that is the sheer number of people on the move all who need accomodation, food, water etc and towns that are impacted by this! That is a whole extra reason to have plenty as everything sells out fast.
      Let us know how things are in Georgia once this has passed! With love and thoughts,

    2. Dear Holley,
      I am glad you are prepared and hope you are staying safe. I was a teenager when Katrina hit but I remember it well. Before it changed courses it was headed for us and I remember the people preparing. And of course the aftermath.
      Bicyle helmets are an excellent idea. You are correct about the dishwasher, too. The news was warning people against storing anything in it.
      Annabel, this is the reason our local store has empty shelves. People from areas that were hit hard are traveling to places less impacted. Our nursing homes are full, I've heard hotels are full, and I read yesterday that Texas State Parks are offering free camping to people who had to evacuate their homes. There are just so many aspects of life that are impacted by this. Thank you again for all of your preparedness posts.
      With love, Kelsey

  10. Kelsey, you are wise beyond your years. Thanking God for his protection of you and yours.

    A good friend of mine is in the path of Irma. We have been emailing back and forth. As much as a week ago, they started eating solely out of the fridge and filling up the empty spaces with water bottles. By the time Irma arrives their fridge will basically be a water cooler. She has (nearly) filled ziplock bags with water and put them in the freezer. They can drink from these if the power is out long term.

    Remember too, if you have a hot water heater - they are full of water! Anywhere from 20-40 gallons. We are blessed to have two. If you use water from your heaters take care when you turn the back on when power is restored. If they are empty you run the risk of burning out the element.

    We have two Luci lights. Lightweight solar lights. They put out a lot of light.

    We are no where near hurricane country, but you never know when an emergency might hit.

    Also, if you need to burn of some nervous energy as you await the storm, vacuum your whole house. If you lose power, you'll be glad you did.

    Praying for all!

  11. I knew I would forget something, and I did!!! Another tip from a Katrina survivor - take pictures of EVERYTHING you have. It will help you to remember what you have if you lose things and need to list them for insurance purposes!

  12. Dear Annabel and Kelsey,
    Thank you both for all of the valuable information!
    Kelsey, I am so glad you and your family are safe and well!
    Love from Arizona, USA

  13. Thank you, Kelsey, for a wise and informational post. We are so thankful that you and your family are safe.
    Alabama, Georgia, and Florida Bluebirds, please stay safe. Other states will be affected by winds and rain. The predicted strike path is now West rather than East. This is a huge storm.
    Love and hugs,

  14. What an amazing woman Kelsey is, I'm not sure I'd have stayed under the circumstances, especially with a baby and without Wayne next to me. So very glad they are safe and well.

  15. I would have been terrified being home alone with a baby, I am so happy for Kelsey and baby John. Very wise woman she is. My prayers have been non stop for all the people who are in this terrible situation. In Wisconsin we don't have hurricane's but we have . tornado's often. We are fairly prepared except for water I don't think I will ever feel secure about water.

  16. Thank you everyone for your thoughts, tips and prayers and also for your words to Kelsey. She did such a good job! Now is time to wait it out I think so be safe to

  17. Kelsey, I am in awe of your resourcefulness and planning. Can I add to everyones list, the need for a means of maintaining your technology? Waterproof cases for phones, and portable recharging devices can mean the difference between staying in contact with loved ones or not. Tarpaulins and watertight storage is important. No point in having a stockpile, if your loo paper and breakfast cereal is on the floor of your garage and it all gets wet. Likewise food in cardboard packets. This happened to several people we knew in the last Cyclone here. Have recipes on hand that use alternative fuel sources eg. what we in Australia call Billy Can Damper which is a really basic bread dough, cooked in a tin over a campfire. Think about what your family like to eat and have alternatives available. No point in stockpiling Baked Beans if they don't eat them. Stockpile something they do like. Again, I've seen people do this, poor things. Sure if you're in an emergency situation, something is better than nothing, but if the 'something' can be even remotely enjoyable, then it turns a stressful situation into a tolerable one. In our stockpile we have candied ginger which we like as a sweet, but which is also good for nausea and tummy upset. Ready popped popcorn is great too. We also have tinned cream and tinned peaches, which even if not chilled, is a nice, almost luxurious dessert. Single use hand warmers for if you do get wet are great, and those picnic blankets that are backed with plastic, can double for duty as raincoats in a pinch. I had an email from a friend last night who had just lost power and was directly in the Hurricanes path. I have yet to hear from her, but hopefully she is okay too. Well done Kelsey. You're a legend. Love, Mimi xxx


  18. I'd say that Kelsey is a real pioneering woman now!! She can shoot a rattle snake, guard her household and prepare for hard times, .... and still be her sweet self!
    Good on you, Kelsey!

    1. Dr. Quinn medicine woman! I agree she is very capable! xxx

  19. Dear Annabel , thankyou for all the updates and to Kelsey and others for the all the invaluable info .
    Thinking of Kelsey and all others in the Hurricanes path , sending love and strength and calm to everyone there , love Maria xxx

  20. Kelsey, thank you so much for sharing your experience. So thankful that you were spared the worst of the storm. Also glad you prepared beforehand. I too, have been in many circumstances where I was a "momma bear." So thankful that the good Lord instills that in us ladies. He clearly guided you to protect your little one even by protecting yourself (to feed him).
    Having lived through power outages due to severe storms, water was our number one priority. I would advise all bluebirds, who live in the country, to have a hand pump to their well. We did and we were the only ones in our area with water. And when you have livestock, that is something to consider.

    1. Dear Leslie,
      I have seen there are a lot of clips on your tube on how to build a hand pump. I am not sure how hard this is but as you say this could be so important. A huge asset!
      What Mothers will do for their children! It is wonderful!
      Thank you Leslie! With love

  21. So happy to hear all is well for Kelsey!!!! Here in Pennsylvania we don't experience hurricanes (we do get the after rain) but in the winter we can receive mammoth snow storms that take power out. Like the ladies mentioned water is key!!! We have a creek as part of our farm so we do have emergency filtration systems for that water. We plan to purchase a hand pump for our well eventually. Here's a tip from my salon/facial days. Before a possible power outage fill all the Crock-Pots you have with wet, hot rolled washcloths or small towels, heat them till very hot(depending on the Crock-Pot) then when the power goes out they will stay hot for quite some time. This is perfect for wiping bodies, hands, faces, baby bums��, etc. Even wiping the few dishes you use. Nothing like a hot washcloth on the face to revive you! We use wood heat for our home but I have my eye on a wood cookstove that would heat and make baking possible. Oh to dream�� Blessings on all the Bluebirds!!!

    1. Dear Jesse, This is a brilliant tip! How true, a hot face cloth is beautiful and effective. Thank you I never thought of this! I will be using this tip for sure.
      Your creek is an asset for sure. and a wood stove would be a very good thing to have. You never know, possibly you could come by a good second hand one. When houses are knocked down etc things like this can be salvaged. I hope one come your way!
      Thank you for your most helpful comment! With love

  22. I'm late adding to the post. We were in the path of Irma.

    A few thoughts from having just been through it -

    Comfortable chairs for your safe room!! Next time I'll bring our folding beach chairs in from the shed. We used our master bedroom as a safe room since it had the least windows and no large trees above that part of the house. Sitting on the edge of the bed for 5 hours or on dining rooms chairs we dragged in was not ideal. It would have been so much nicer to have the comfortable beach chairs with cup holders which could be folded out of the way easily rather than dragging the dining room chairs in and out of the hallway - which then blocked the hall.

    Have comforting healthy food. I made oatmeal cookies the morning before the storm as a treat and popped popcorn the day of the storm. I made a huge thermos of coffee as the storm started. I didn't buy any chips or junk we don't normally eat. It's stressful - eat healthy and you will feel better. So many people are now complaining of weight gain and feeling crummy from all the junk they ate.

    I have a pantry that could get us through for many weeks. I did not have to go out AT ALL for any pre-storm shopping. Co-workers were complaining of the lines and empty shelves. I have a diverse pantry. Bags of beans and rice, oats, etc to get us through a job loss but where we still have power. Canned baked beans, canned fruit,bean soups, tuna, peanut butter, etc for when we have no power. I only buy what we use and rotate through. We prefer brewed coffee of course, but I did have instant coffee on hand which I bought on Annabel's advice “something is better than nothing.” I buy cans of evaporated milk when it's on sale during the holidays to use during power outages. So nice to have some real milk in the instant coffee and the opened can is so small to store in a cooler.

    Store shelves were cleared out before the storm. Power outages were widespread. Days later as stores are reopening – the shelves are still bare because there haven't been any shipments in. So glad I have my pantry. There were many complaining in the news that they only had 3 days of food in the house and couldn't afford to buy more than that beforehand. I think of Annabel's advice to add every week to your pantry. Buying even 1 or 2 extra items a week, or set a spending limit of $2 or $5 a week to add to your pantry will get you way ahead.

    We were planning on “hunkering down” for the storm but still packed go bags with our meds, a change of clothes and food for the pets who are on special diets just in case we had substantial damage to the house and had to leave after the storm. We were ready to just grab and go. We kept our go bags in our safe room.

    I keep some extra cash hidden in the house so I didn't have to get money out before the storm. Not so much I worry it gets stolen, but enough to get us through if we need to buy something after the storm when some stores are only taking cash.

    At the beginning of every storm season I go through our supplies and double check we have everything we need. I check the flashlights and make sure we have plenty of batteries. In Florida we have a tax free weekend for hurricane season to buy batteries, etc.

    to be continued..... Debbie in Florida

  23. Part 2:
    Every year I add an item to our emergency supplies. One year I bought a small AM/FM/weather radio that can be solar charged or charged turning a small handle. Before the storm hits make a list of the radio stations you can find storm info on. Many of our local stations were also broadcasting on the radio. I wrote down the channels before the storm. Another year I bought the battery cell phone chargers. Another year I made sure I had tarps if we need to cover the roof.

    For gifts, think of giving useful gifts like flashlights. A friend was very grateful her mother had bought flashlights, etc, as gifts for the guys.

    I went through the house and took pictures of all the rooms and closer pictures of our TV, computers, collectibles, etc. I uploaded those to the cloud so we had a record for our insurance.

    I made a list of numbers – FEMA, Red Cross, contractors and roofers we had used in the past. This list went into my wallet and emailed it to myself.

    Know how your work will be contacting you regarding coming back to work. Make sure they have current cellphone numbers.

    All good tips to reiterate from Kelsey – do laundry, fridge/freezer on coldest setting, run the vacuum (it's bad enough having no power for days – I didn't want to have tumbleweeds of pet hair in the house), fill every container with water. If the pump stations lose power, you don't have running water. Have enough water to flush toilets also.

    The worst of the storm was passing over us midnight to 1 am. We kept our shoes on day of the storm and kept our clothes on and didn't change into Pjs night of the storm, even after the worst had passed.

    We set up a safe room for the cat in one of the large closets with a spot for her to hide in there. Our cat hides during any storm. I didn't want to be trying to find her in an emergency under the furniture and trying to catch her. She was cozy and I knew where she was.

    Be realistic and give yourself some grace. Once we were done preparing, I felt like I should be productive organizing or scrapbooking or doing some kind of project, but I was just glued to the TV for hours and days.

    Thank you Annabel, Kelsey and all the other Bluebirds. I wouldn't have been nearly as prepared without all your wisdom.

    Debbie in Florida

    1. Dear Debbie, You did really well. Thank you for your tips. I think accumulating wise things like the radio is a great idea and the giving as presents too. These things can suddenly become invaluable!
      Also the keeping on shoes, staying dressed... very sensible.
      Between us all we have learned a lot. Both in theory and in real life emergencies! I am so glad you are all ok. I am seeing such devastation of large areas that it is mind blowing to think how it can ever be cleaned up. Thank you for such a helpful comment! With much love


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