Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Influenza - A Possible Remedy

It is flu season again.  It happens every year. 

Have you ever had the flu?  I have.  I got it several years ago.  I am pretty sure I caught it while we were in Disney World.  On the drive home I started to get a funny cough.  As the day wore on it got worse.  The next day I woke up with a fever, chills, body aches and persistent cough.  It was 2009 and it was the Swine (H1N1) Flu.  It was also Christmas Eve.  I took a ton of over the counter meds and struggled through Christmas and then spent the next week doing nothing but watching tv and recovering from this awful mess.

Yes, I had gotten the flu shot.  We get it every year.  That year the Swine flu wasn't in the flu shot.

This year (2018) the experts say the flu shot is only about 30% effective.  This year's flu is particularly awful.  They say it is the worst flu season since 2009.  This particular strand is rough on kids who haven't built up an immunity to any flu strains and those with compromised immune systems. 

Influenza is a virus.  It doesn't respond at all to antibiotics, as those only kill bacteria.  It has to run its course and your body has to fight it off.  However, there are some things you can do to help your body out.
1. fluids
2. rest
3. fever reducer (Tylenol, Advil, etc)
4. and this:

I have heard that taking these two items will help to reduce your symptoms and boost your immune system to fight the virus.  I have heard it shortens the time you have the flu by up to 50%.

I don't have the flu and hope I don't get it this year, but I will be stocking this in our medicine cabinet.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Our "Poor" times

Years ago, when I was a school teacher I would get paid monthly.  I adjusted my budgets and spending habits to reflect the one time a month I would get paid.  I paid all my bills as soon as I got my check, went grocery shopping, and bought other necessaries (and sometimes a new shirt or skirt) and then the rest was saved for gas and food later in the month.  In December we would get paid on the last working day of the month which was the last day of school before Christmas.  I would splurge a bit on Christmas gifts, a big Christmas dinner, and some other extras for the holiday.  The next pay day was a LONG time away - not till the end of January.  January was a "poor" month for us.

Fast forward to now. 

January is still a "poor" month for us.  I no longer teach but our business is slow this time of year.  Very slow!

We know it is a "poor" time for us and we prepare.  It would be easy to say that we have a savings account for this and we put a little money in each month to offset our lack of income but that would be too easy.  With three teenagers it is hard for us to save right now.  They always "need" something and we have never been the type to be able to save very well.  So we prepare in other ways.

Over the fall we stock up on food and other necessities.  We stock our fridge and freezer full of food and I mean FULL.  We stock the pantry.  We stock up on toilet paper and paper towels (two pretty expensive items comparatively).  I stock up on  bathroom necessities: toothpaste, shampoo, soaps, etc.  We also give the kids and us a new toothbrush, new soaps, shampoos, lotions, chapstick, razors, etc for Christmas too.  This way in January we are using our "new" stuff and feeling pampered in our "poor" time.

Prepping isn't always for end of the world times.  It can be for your "poor" times.  I spend a bit extra when we have it and fill our pantry and freezers.  When I find a great sale (like the one I found not long ago at a hair cut place that was going out of business - they were selling everything "buy one get three free". I spent $100 and got a TON of shampoos and conditioners, and other hair products.  Retail on these was over $400!) I stock up.

The house we live in now isn't very conducive to food storage.  We don't have a pantry per say. It is a broom closet and extremely tiny.  But I like to have at least a month's worth of food here.  In our old house I was proud to boast I had 3 months supply of food, sometimes more!

Knowing we have "poor" times of the year.  We prepare so we don't have to worry about running to the grocery store.  For us it is the cheapest way to "save" money is to use our food storage during our poor times.  When we run low on food that is when the panic sets in.  I don't like that panic.  As long as we are eating like we normally do here at home then we don't feel as poor as we are. 

Think about your "poor" times and what you might be able to do to alleviate it.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Where have I been???

Where have I been, you ask?  Well, I will tell you!

I have been right here.  My husband lovingly convinced me to buy an embroidery machine the end of October and it arrived mid November.  Since then I have been embroidering away.  One of the main reasons for purchasing a several thousand dollar embroidery machine was that we would start a "little" business with it.  I immediately began making and selling embroidered towels.  I sell them on etsy.com and in a local storefront. For a start up business we have been busy.

Here are a few of our towels:









You can purchase them here: www.etsy.com/shop/wcsears

You can like my facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/byathreadembroidery/

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Prayer Shawls - a Free Crochet Pattern

And now for something completely different!!  :)



Did you know that I love to create?  I crochet, knit, quilt, sew, scrapbook, and cross stitch.  I love to make things with my hands.  It is relaxing, satisfying, and helps me relieve stress.


I enjoy making prayers shawls.  I give them away always.  If I have a friend struggling with illness, grieving, or just needs some comfort I tend to lean towards making them a prayer shawl.  I also make them for others who I don't know.  While, creating them I pray over the stitches, think about their needs, pray for comfort, strength and healing.  The shawls that I don't give to a loved one or friend I donate to my church for their healing ministry. (No we don't "heal" people, but help and comfort them while healing.) 


I have another blog where I share patterns and such from time to time.  Here is the link to the prayer shawl pattern I created.

https://whitneyshandwork.blogspot.com/2015/03/jacobs-ladder-prayer-shawl-free-pattern.html

Enjoy!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Holiday Shopping Safety

Recently I have heard of several new schemes that not so nice people are using to get women away from their car or to stop their car so the not so nice people can do bad things to them.

With only 9 weeks left before Christmas and the sun setting earlier and earlier, us women will find ourselves shopping and in parking lots in the dark.  Now is the time to prepare ourselves.  Personally, I hate shopping at night.  I particularly don't enjoy driving at night anymore.  I try to avoid being out after dark particularly alone anymore.  However, with the sun setting around 6 now and by Christmas, just before 5, I will find myself alone, in the dark, in a parking lot.

So, here is what I have heard before and this is what I will be telling my teenage girls.

Recent stories have told of bad people (sometimes bad women, not just men) will leave something on your windshield, like a shirt or a piece of paper.  You don't see it until you are in your car and getting ready to pull out of the parking space.  You stop, open your door, get out to take the item off your windshield and they grab you.

Sometimes you go to your car and a van with dark or even no windows is parked right next to your car.  You go to get in your car and they open the door and grab you.

Sometimes they will throw raw eggs at your windshield and then wait for you to stop to wash it off or get the egg off in some way.  Using your windshield wipers don't work as it only smears it and makes it worse.  Water mixed with raw egg will make it cloudy.

Your best protection is awareness.

1.  look around you, not at your phone, keep aware of your surroundings and others around you.

2.  keep your keys in your hand.

3.  keep your whistle on your keychain and don't be afraid to use it.

4.  if the hair on the back of your neck stands up, listen to it and go back in the store, ask the store manager to walk you out to your car.

5.  don't ever stop your car to take something off your car.  drive to a well lit place with lots of people like a gas station.

6.  if you have to stop, lock your doors, use your horn, call 911 for assistance.

7.  if you have a key fob on your keychain for your car, keep your finger on the panic button,  or the lock/unlock button, or whichever button will make your car look like it is acting funny so others will start to pay attention to it..

8.  if you can, don't go out alone.

9.  if you find someone grabbing you, scream, make a commotion, try to scratch them and poke their eyes, knee them in the groin.

10.  if you are alone, don't be helpful.  Don't help someone who asks for help in a parking lot.  If they need help, don't get close to them.  Go back in the store to ask for help.

Again, your best defense is awareness.  Be aware of your surroundings.  Park in a well lit area, as close as you can to the store.

Hope these little tips are helpful.

Visit me on Facebook.  Search "A Prepared Mom".  That's me!  :)  I post other things there.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Wildfires - What to Grab When You Don't Have Time

Recently California, Oregon and other areas have been battling huge wildfires.  These crop up in the summer, usually when it is hot and dry.  They are caused by a number of things including lightning strikes, cigarettes tossed out a car window, or human negligence. These fires can cause huge amounts of damage to personal property and cause potential loss of life.

I have had dreams of fighting fires with a garden hose, but in the end I am not doing anything to help.  I am sure someone can analyze this dream!  Ha ha ha.  However, a garden hose is useless when a fire is raging around my home.

Here is a great exercise for anyone to do and is effective in so many scenarios.

Imagine an emergency person (firefighter, police officer, forest ranger) comes to your door and says you have 5 minutes to grab what you need and get out.  5 minutes only!  What do you grab?

1. Call to the kids. Shoes on NOW!

2. Tell kids to pack a bag quicker than quick!  (if they have their own bug out bag already packed even better) **point of note here:  My kids are quick packers.  They can power pack through lots of practice over the years of heading here or there every weekend.  My kids are also teenagers; this wouldn't work if they were younger.

3.  Grab our bug out bags, blankets, my purse, medications.

4.  Get dog in car with her bug out bag and crate.

Do I have time?  1 minute more.......what do I grab?  Fireproof safe, heirloom jewelry (I keep it in a separate jewelry box), emergency cash.

We get in the car and stop on the way out of the neighborhood where the emergency people are and ask for a point of contact to find out when we can return.

Did you imagine what you would do?  Where would you get hung up?  Is your bag packed already?  Kids packed? Pets packed? Emergency papers ready to go?

If you find you wouldn't be able to get everything together in 5 minutes, you know what you need to work on.

Start with emergency papers.  Scan pertinent information, birth certificates, insurance papers, passports, driver's licenses, etc, and put it all on a flashdrive.  Keep this flash drive in your bug out bag.  When things change grab your flash drive and update it then return it to your bug out bag. 

You may choose to not worry about clothing and that is fine.  It is replaceable.  Go for the irreplaceable things.  Heirloom jewelry, photos, etc.  We keep our heirloom pieces in a separate jewelry box that is quickly transportable.  I can grab it and toss it in a bag quickly.  It is all there. No worrying about searching through my other jewelry cabinet for specific pieces.  Our photos we keep on our computer and we back it up regularly on an external hard drive.  All I have to do is grab this external hard drive.

This is a great exercise to just go through in your mind and by actually doing it.  Practice is a great thing for a family.  Set a timer for 5 minutes and then go through the motions.  5 minutes is QUICK!  See if you can grab all you need and get out of the house with everyone and the pets.  This will also help you with what further prepping you need to do in order to get out of the house in time.

Wildfires not an issue for you?  There are lots of reason why an emergency official might come to your house and tell you to evacuate.  Gas leaks (this happened to us once), neighbor's home on fire, flooding (has happened to friends of mine).  I am sure there are other events as well.

What would you grab?  Would you be able to think if you were under pressure?

Make a list.  Then all you need to do is get the list and do what is on the list.  Keep the list with your bug out bag.  That is where you will go first and what you will grab first.  Then check off the list. 

Start your list with the essentials, most of which might already be in your bag. Then move on to the "other" things (for me this is the heirloom jewelry box, fireproof safe, external hard drive).  Practice this list.  Can you do it in five minutes?

Add additional items if you have 10 minutes and space.  If your car is small, you may have to drop some items.  If you don't have a car and must leave on foot, you may want to make sure your bug out bags are not too heavy.

What if not everyone is home at the time?  Have a plan.  Wait until you are out to contact the people not at home.  Grab their bag and items they need before you leave.  Once you are out of danger. Contact them to warn them not to go home. Arrange a place to meet.  This could be a pre-arranged place.

Comment below on things I missed. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Social Unrest - Prepping for a Protest Gone Bad

Recently we had a protest in our city.  I don't live in the city.  I live probably about 25 miles outside of the city on the outskirts of a suburban area.  The news prior to the protests warned us against going down to the protest site.  The police had blocked off the protest area and closed the streets well away from the protest area in preparation to help keep innocent bystanders away.  The police warned that if we didn't have a necessary need to be in that area to stay away.  The protesters were quite controversial and there was a potential that this could go very, very wrong if everyone wasn't "on guard".  In the end, the police did a great job.  They kept the protesters and anti-protesters away from each other and the situation didn't result in injury or destruction.

But what if.....

We have seen social unrest situations go very, very bad in recent years. We have even seen looting and social unrest (looting, crime, vandalism) in areas struck with a natural disaster ( hurricane, flooding, etc).

So what do we do?  How do we prepare?

There are two options: bug-in or bug-out. The preference in any situation is to stay put.  Stay in your home, stay where you are.  But sometimes you will need to get out of the area and if things go bad, you might be away for a little while.

Let's look at a few situations:

1.  You live in an area where potential unrest could happen and have warning that unrest could occur.  Let's say you know a protest will happen close to where you live.  If you have warning, you may want to leave the area until the potential threat is gone.  If I were living in the area where our recent protest was occurring, I might have thought to leave as well.  This was a potentially violent protest and if I lived where the police were blocking off streets, etc, I probably would have packed up the family and left for the weekend. It just makes sense to avoid the threat. 

What do you pack?  Clothing, cash, perhaps your valuables (if you feel your home could be compromised), portable food (things you don't need to heat up or cook - think protein bars, easy snacks, fruit, water), a special toy or stuffed animal (for kids who might need that comfort).  Copies of your important papers, insurance papers, etc.

If you leave and the social unrest happens your home may be compromised and potentially destroyed so pack the really important things you need and prepare that you may not be able to return to your home for a little while.

Now I am not saying to pack everything.  That is a bit overkill, but I am saying to pack a day or two of clothing, maybe a few extra pair of underwear, a blanket or two, emergency food, paperwork, etc.  The basics of a bug out bag along with an extra this or that.

2. You live in an area where potential unrest could happen but you have NO WARNING and it is happening.

Always your best option is to stay put, but if the danger is eminent and you feel safer leaving then leave.  Grab your BOB (bug out bag) and get out of Dodge!  This means that you need your car to always have some gas in it.  You don't want to have to stop at the next block to fill up.  It is best to be able to get out of town and then stop for gas.  So if you are living in an urban area or where potential unrest could happen you will want to think about keeping your car at least half full with gas and your car emergency kit is up to date and filled at all times.  You will want to be one of the first ones out so be ready.  This is where keeping a bug out bag packed and ready to go is important.

3.  The social unrest has occurred and the police have everything on "lock down".  There is a city-wide curfew. 

At this point you have survived the potentially violent phase but now the aftermath.  The city is on lock-down.  Stores are closed. There is a mandatory curfew in the city.  You must stay home. It may be a few days before the curfew is lifted and it may be a bit longer for local stores to open and the city to get back to "normal".  This is where your food storage and emergency supplies will come in handy. You will not feel the need to have to get out.  Your typical emergency food storage and supplies will keep you going until you can get to the store.  Thankfully, you have already stocked up on food and other necessary supplies so staying at home will be no problem.

In the end, preparing is the key.  Know your dangers. Prepare for the worse, hope for the best.  Have your bug out bag ready to go.  Keep your papers and insurance up to date.  Keep gas in your car.  Have an emergency supply of food and necessary items.

This is just another example of how your food storage and your bit of preparation can help you in the end.