Monday, September 18, 2017

What Hurricane Irma and Harvey Can Teach Us

Let me begin by setting up some background....

My family used to vacation in the Outer Banks when I was growing up.  We spent several weeks in August there each year.  It was a wonderful place for vacationing however August was the beginning of hurricane season down there.  We never evacuated for a hurricane, never. Never.  At the hint of a hurricane my aunt, uncle and family would leave.  We would tease them, but they always left.  I don't remember a Category 3, 4 or 5 ever hitting while we were there but I do remember Category 1s and 2s all the time.  We survived them all unscathed and never had any real damage.  Yes there was lots of wind, rain, and flooding, but no damage.

My family isn't scared of hurricanes.  We typically don't evacuate unless absolutely necessary.  I suspect that those who live in Florida and even on the coast of Texas have a similar experience and similar thought processes when it comes to hurricanes.

 Harvey wasn't as massive, nor a higher wind storm but it stuck around in the same spot for days on end.  Massive flooding occurred.  Most hurricanes move through, albeit slowly sometimes but they move on.  Harvey didn't follow those guidelines.  It just stayed and stayed and stayed!

Irma was "impressive" to say the least.  It was a cat 5 storm.  It was HUGE, over 400 miles in diameter, and it was tracking to cover all of Florida.  Many residents decided to evacuate because of the enormity of the storm.  Some chose to stay and hunker down and ride it out.  Houses down there are built for storms.

Last week the track of Irma looked like it would turn and go up the east coast.  This gave those on the west coast a bit of relief and they relaxed a bit. However just before the storm hit the track changed and those on the west coast would be hit instead of east coast.  This was a major change and required a quick decision as to what those on the west coast would do.  Stay and ride it out or evacuate if they could.

Those who chose to go didn't have time to do much more than "grab and go". This was a big real life lesson.

Lesson #1: Bug out Bags
When prepping for a storm in which you plan to remain and shelter in place, one still must pack a Bug Out Bag.

This should be done during the prep stage of the storm.  There may be no time to pack when it comes down to evacuating. I have listed some items that you will need to pack.

All members of the household must have their own bag or back pack.  Even pack one for the pets.
  • 3 days worth of clothing, don't worry about pjs - just the bare basics
  • 3 days worth of water,
  • 3 days worth of food,
  • toiletries including toilet paper, a trash bag, first aid kit
  • electronics, cords, batteries, and chargers (charge up all chargers and electronics and keep them charged until the time comes to bug out or no power) flashlights
  • emergency info, numbers, papers, etc. thumb drives with back-up files, photos, etc
  • Any additional special items that you can't live without.
  • Rain gear (ponchos are awesome and easy to pack) plus you can put your backpack under it to keep it dry, use as a ground cover, or a drop cloth.
  • for pets, leash and a spare, papers to prove shots and health info, food, water, bowls, blanket or towel for them to sleep on, a crate or cage.
  • for kids, ask them what two or three toys or items that they must have with them (stuffed animal, toy or game to keep them busy) 

These packs should be packed and ready to go in a moment's notice, all in one place.  Put your shoes on or keep them next to the packs so you don't have to go look for anything in case you have to leave quickly.  Some of these items can even be put in the car ahead of time so you don't have to worry about packing it when the times comes to "bug out".

Lesson #2: Emergency Shelters
Prior to the storm contact emergency officials and ask where the local shelters are and what requirements they have.  If you have pets, ask what requirements they need for pets.  Many shelters in Florida required proof of shots and the pets all had to be in a cage/carrier that you had to bring with you.  Many residents didn't have cages and couldn't bring their pets. It would be horrible to get there and be turned away because your pet doesn't meet the requirements.

Lesson #3: Weather Updates
Prior to the storm contact a friend or family member and let them know your plans and options if you need to leave or move to another place.  Also ask them to keep you informed of weather updates once your power goes out.  Also have an emergency weather radio or battery powered radio where you can get up to the minute weather information for the locality where you are.  If you have a weather radio know how to reprogram it for the locality you have to move to if you have to move locations.  A friend can text you information from far away as now most major news channels run towards the major severe storm.  This can also be a very important  connection to help you weather the storm and keep your sanity about you.  You can be very scared and make poor decisions in the midst of a severe storm and bouncing your ideas off a friend who may be able to help you sort through your fears is helpful.

Lesson #4: Never too many battery chargers
Your cell phone may be your only lifeline to the outside world.  You can burn through your battery power quickly in an emergency.  So have LOTS of battery chargers available and ready to use.  Your kids may feel comfort using their tech to play a game and keep their minds off being scared and your batteries will wear down quickly. Texting uses less battery power than an actual phone call or video chatting or playing a game.  Reserve your power as best you can by turning off all apps that run in the background other than the ones you need, like weather apps, texting ability, etc.  Quicker charging can be done if you turn your phone off to charge or if you turn your phone to "airplane mode".   If you don't know how to turn off apps, take some time prior to the storm to learn or have someone teach you.  Once the storm is over you may not have the ability to recharge using electricity. Purchase a good quality solar battery charger.

Lesson #5: Evacuation
Florida is a unique place in many ways, but it is similar to other places in many ways.  If you think about how you will evacuate your area most localities have one or two main highways heading into and leaving your area.  Think about everyone in your locality leaving at the same time.  Massive backups, traffic accidents, gas shortages.  There is nothing worse than sitting in a 5 hour back up and running out of gas on the highway.  Have a plan ahead of time and then if you are evacuating do it early.  I can't preach this enough.  A short 2 hour trip may take 3 or 4 times as long with massive traffic. Pack your patience and lots of snacks, drinks, and expect massive delays.

Lesson #6: Stocking Up
Most people do not have a store of emergency supplies, so when the time comes where a storm is predicted people run out to their local stores and start gathering the supplies they need.  The stores don't have time to have shipments of emergency supplies come in prior to a storm so they run out of the supplies you need quickly.  The first things off the shelves are flashlights, batteries, bread, milk, peanut butter, snack foods, tarps, generators, etc.  Many of these items can be used over and over again like flashlights.  Have a central location in your home where you store your emergency supplies and frequently check on your supplies for working ability so that these are things you don't need to worry about getting at the time of a storm.  If you are going to need plywood to board up your windows then keep a stock of plywood somewhere in your garage or under a protective covering so that you don't need to run out to get that.  Food is another situation however you can still stock up and keep a "stash" of foods that you can cook or eat without cooking when storms hit. One rule I use is that the first time I hear of a storm potentially impacting our area I hit the grocery store and purchase foods prior to the "panic" of the rest of my neighbors.  Many times the storm doesn't impact us but we will still use the food I purchased.  It won't go to waste.  I don't buy "special" food for a storm.

For us, I try to do a review of my supplies a couple times a year and prepare for that season's needs.  We use batteries all the time, so when I see that we are starting to get low I will stock up.  Storm or no storm.  If I find that a flashlight isn't working properly, I purchase a new one.

The big lesson here is stock up early.  Fill all cars with gas. Be ready for the worst, hope for the best.

Lesson #7: The Aftermath
The storm is one thing.  The impact can be major but you need to prepare for the aftermath also.  Check on your neighbors, friends and family who were also impacted.  Make sure they are safe and well.  Make sure you have cleaning supplies, lots of towels, rags, bleach, trash bags, etc., for potential flooding or damage.  Flooding can be many days.  Have a plan for the trash, household goods that got ruined, and how you will deal with the clean up. Start making a list of all the ruined items to turn into your insurance company. Have a list of people you can contact to help you.

If you didn't have flooding but major damage to your home, you may need a long term plan for shelter while your home is being repaired.

At the very least you may have to deal with no electricity for days on end.  Do you have an alternative cooking method, alternative lighting methods, alternative battery charging methods?  Having no electricity can be quite frustrating.  One of the first things most people do after the storm is go out and try to find a restaurant that is open.  Don't expect it.  Plan to be able to feed yourself for several days at least after the storm.  If you live in a warm climate ICE may be tops on your list of items you need. Try to plan for that too.  Make extra ice prior to the storm.  Buy ice prior to the storm. Store it in coolers, your fridge and freezers. Having no power is a great way to clean out your fridge and freezer ;)

It is always good to look back and reflect.  Every storm is slightly different and we can learn from them all so we are better prepared next time.

Have a great day.  Be safe!




Friday, September 8, 2017

A Guide for Helping Kids Cope with a Hurricane

I found this gem this morning.  It was published by the Florida Sun-Sentinel to help in preparation for Hurricane Irma coming up the Florida Peninsula.  I thought there were some very helpful hints here.

Hurricane Irma: Prepping the Kids

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A Beka Consumer Math

Consumer Math Workbook
This year we are using A Beka Consumer Math with my high school seniors.  They have gotten through Algebra II and wanted something more practical this year. (and easier LOL)

I chose this book because our cousin uses it in her school.  We had never used A Beka products before now.  I know A Beka has their own course schedule and lesson plans and honestly I never looked at them.  I think they are in the teacher's guide which I have yet to open.  Maybe I should have, however, I went through the book and organized a year long plan along with assignments.  I know I will be using this again with my youngest child when she is ready so I need to put it somewhere where I can access it later and thought my blog is as good a place as any.  So here it is.

I based my year on a 36 week year.  I give them a day break after each test day and a break here and there.  I aimed for 4 days of assignments each week and some weeks there are 5 days.  I didn't assign all the exercise problems, as I know my kids don't need all that practice.  I assigned worksheet pages from the workbook but won't be having them do any of the skills check that is on top of the pages.  They will only do the lesson exercises on the bottom half of the workbook pages. So when I assign a "worksheet" and it is two pages, it refers to the workbook page numbers and they will only be doing the reviewing exercises on the bottom half of each page.

Consumer Math Textbook
I didn't look at the calendar when I planned this year.  When there is a holiday one day then I will push the "free" day to the holiday and plan the rest of the week accordingly.  We will probably take the whole week for Thanksgiving but if we don't then they will do the whole week in three days instead of 5 or skip the worksheet if it is scheduled for that week.

You are welcome to use these assignments or adapt them for your own use.  If you do use them, please just comment "thank you" in the bottom so I know others are using these assignments too.  Let me know if you like, how you like them and if you would like me to post more of my curriculum I use with my kids.

You can buy the textbooks at abeka.com. You really only need the student Text, student workbook, and teacher's edition text, teacher's edition workbook.  That way you have the answers.  You might be able to find them used for sale too.

Here is the link to the Google Doc that has the whole plan.
Abeka Consumer Math Year Plan with Daily Assignments

Yet One More Post About Hurricanes

The other night we built a fire in our outside firepit and roasted marshmallows.  It was a great evening with my teenage kids.  This is rare for us to spend the evening all together as they are busy with other interests, friends, and activities.  I pulled out the s'more making ingredients and we made s'mores.

Why am I telling you all this when my post title implies that I will be talking about hurricanes???  I am getting to that.....  When I ran into the house to get our s'more making ingredients I grabbed a lantern.  The first lantern I grabbed had no batteries in it.  I looked in our battery box and there were no D batteries.  I grabbed the other lamp and luckily it had batteries in it and the lantern still worked.  Heading back to the kitchen I quickly wrote down on my grocery list "D batteries" "AA batteries" "water bottles".

I don't know about you but there are a few things that we always seem to run out of.  AA batteries not only fit in most of our smaller flashlights but also fits in my daughter's camera.  She is always telling me we are out of AA batteries.  Water bottles are also something that seems to disappear quicker than I can turn around twice.  The kids grab them on their way out places, I throw one in my purse, my husband grabs one on the way out to work.  With a family of 5 we go through a case quickly.  We have awesome tasting water in our tap (well water) and we have insulated water bottles that we also use all the time but filling up before we run out somewhere doesn't always happen.  And then the D batteries.  I honestly don't know where these disappear to but I have a feeling it might be a radio somewhere (maybe in my son's room??)  Our lanterns won't work unless we have batteries in them.

Another thing we need is a few screens for our windows.  We don't have screens in our windows. The house didn't come with any and I just have been lazy in the last year and a half we have lived here to buy screens.  Today I will be working to get the windows measured and go to our local hardware store and hope they have some snap in screens that we can put in a few of our windows to get a cross breeze should the power go out.

Hurricane Irma is barrelling somewhere towards the US and right now we aren't quite sure if it will hit us in Virginia but I want to make sure I am prepared for it, just in case.

I have posted a zillion times about hurricane prep so I won't go through all of it again.  You can search on my sidebar all my posts on emergency preparedness.  But remember the basics: alternate lighting, alternate cooking, alternate warmth (if you need it), alternate water.  If you live in a place where you have well water, remember that you won't be able to turn on the tap to get water and your toilets won't flush normally.  Alternate water sources can be your bathtub for non-potable water (for toilets, cleaning and such), and fill all your water bottles, large pots, and anything else that will hold potable (for drinking and cooking) water.

The day after our s'mores evening, I went to the grocery store and grabbed a couple packs of D batteries, AA batteries and a case of water.  I feel like I need to grab a couple more cases (we will drink them even if we don't need them) and more D batteries..........just in case.

I would rather be over prepared and not have to worry than to not be prepared and worry.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Emergency Kit for Kids Traveling This Summer

My teenagers are going on a mission trip this summer with our church.  Along with the required items that the church organization asks them to bring (raincoat, water bottle, sun screen, etc), I want to send them with a small first aid kit personalized for them.  I want it small enough for them to toss in their backpacks, not take up too much room, and not add too much weight or bulk.


Here is a list of items I will be including in their kits.
  • Band-aids of different sizes
  • Neosporin Spray
  • Nail file, nail clippers, tweezers
  • Bandana and safety pin (clean cloth for wound care or as a sling if needed)
  • Advil
  • Allergy medication (for my daughter)

It is not much but it will all fit nicely in a small bag (you can put it all in a ziploc bag if you want).

I am also sending the following with them:
  • flash light (a small one with a wrist handle)
  • Hand sanitizer (this won't go in their first aid kit but will float in their backpack as they will need it available more often than their first aid kit)
  • a few snacks (my daughter is a picky eater so she wants to pack some pop-tarts, breakfast bars, and cheese crackers with her)
They are flying so the first aid kit will be in their backpacks while they fly.  The snacks and sunscreen will be packed in their suitcases which will be checked at the airport.  Nothing will be more than an ounce so they shouldn't have any trouble getting it through security.

My son has a small bag of bandaids and antiseptic spray in his baseball bag and  a larger kit in his car.  While his baseball team coaches have a kit they keep with them, my son tends to use his own band-aids from his bag and his friends have from time to time asked him for stuff too.  He likes the independence he has with his own stuff.  He knows his band-aids are the kind he likes and will work for him.  Again, this truly is about independence and lack of worry.  They know that in that bag is a little bit of love that mom packed and when they need a bandaid they might feel a bit of comfort from home.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

How To Survive a Trip to the Store with Little Kids

Let me first add this disclaimer:  I am a mom of 3 teenagers.  From the oldest to the youngest they are 3 years apart.  I had three kids in three years.  I am not a mom of toddlers or young kids anymore.  This is my story, my observations, my opinions, and my methods from when my kids were little.  I think these are timeless and can enhance family time and/or your personal survival. I share these as my own ideas for surviving and enjoying multiple children.

Let's go to the grocery store!  I hear so often from moms of little ones that they HATE taking their kids to the grocery store with them or a run to Target/Walmart, etc.  When my kids were little there were a few times where a trip to the grocery store was without any little ones.  Those times were heaven!  I could stroll through the aisles, check out all the new end-caps, look for sales on things not on the list, etc.  However, note that I said few, because that is all I got.  Most often I had two or even three little ones tagging along with me.  I survived, and you can too!!

Wherever we were going, I started preparing the kids on that way there.  Telling them where we were going, why, what we would be looking for or purchasing, and how I expected them to behave.  There were no rewards dangled if they were good, no prizes at the end of the rainbow (check out line), none of that.  I didn't have the extra money to fork out prizes or treats if they were good.  Goodness was expected and they would receive my praise when they behaved.  That was all.  So we would start out similar to this:

 Me - "We are going to the grocery store and I will need everyone to listen to me and to pay attention to where we are going.  I will need my good helpers to help me find the things on the list. We are only getting the things on the list but we will see lots of other things we might want but we can't get them today. Who would like to help me by holding my list for me today?" (that person would get the prize of sitting in the cart seat)  Sometimes I would let them volunteer and other times I would select that person myself.  Then I would move on.  "The other two will have to help me find the things we are looking for on the shelves. Remember that your job is to help me by staying close to the cart with your hand on the cart while we are in the store." (this person or people had a rule that they had to keep their hand on the cart while we walked in the store and in the parking lot.  I didn't have enough hands to hold them all so that was the rule, period.  Even today with my teens I find them unconsciously putting their hand on the cart when we are in a parking lot - they still do it. :) )  Sometimes I would ask for a person to help organize the groceries - if we were only getting a few things and a kid could sit in the big part of the cart with the food while we rolled.  That way only one was out of the cart. When I had a baby who couldn't walk with us (under 3 years old) then that person always got the cart seat. The others were relegated to the basket or walking. Sometimes we would "ride" and I would let the walkers "hop on" the front of the cart and hold on while we moved through the store.  This was a fun treat for them.

When we arrived at the store, before we got out of the car, I reminded them again, "you all are such great listeners I know we will be so quick and can get home soon.  If we don't behave in the store then we will have to go home right away and not have the things we need to make dinner (or breakfast or whatever we were there for). Don't forget to put your hand on the cart when we are walking in the parking lot.  Cars can't see you but they can see me.  You are short right now and they can't see you so well.  They can see me because I am tall. Stick close and keep your hand on the cart."  I always tried to park close to a cart corral so I could grab one before getting in the store.  On the occasion when I couldn't grab a cart right away then they had to hold on to my purse or hold my arm or hold each other's hands.  No one was ever walking freely. The threat was always the same.  The people driving the cars can't see you and might run over you by accident.  That would hurt badly and we don't want that to happen.  The cars can see me because I am tall.  Stick close to me and hold on to me and the cars won't hit you. This was said over and over again every time we were in a parking lot.  Over time it all becomes habit; habit to say it, habit for the kids to hold on to me or hold the cart or hold someone who was holding me. It became their job to hold not my job to grab them.  Usually I was carrying someone in my arm and someone else was holding a hand.  The third would either grab my purse straps or hold my arm holding a kid or hold their sibling's other hand (as they were holding on to me).

As we moved through the store, the list keeper would help me by marking off the things we found, even if they couldn't read it was great practice for them to look for the first letter of the item and good practice for just marking things out.  The other two "finders" would help me look for their brand of cereal or the bacon or the "blue topped milk" etc.  I always praised them for finding it with their good eyes.  They know what the box of cereal looks like and the brand of milk we use, etc.  They are so observant even at a young age, say 3 or 4 years old.  We would mark everything off the list and move to the check out where they would be able to watch the bagger bag up our groceries or help me by putting the items on the conveyor belt.  It kept them busy and if they asked for things not on the list I would remind them that it wasn't on the list and we couldn't get it today, but when we got home we could put it on the list for next time. Usually they had forgotten all about whatever it was and never had to make a new list when we got home.  They were too busy helping me put it all away at that point.

As the kids grew older and learning to read, the list keeper became more important as they had to read what was on the list to us.  And even older (like 7, 8, 9 years old) we began looking for sales and comparing unit prices.  Sometimes if we had time one would use my calculator in my purse to add things up or help compare prices and quantities in the package.  Even at that age they can learn so much.

I know I have blogged about this before because I remember writing it, but when we were in the stores and saw a child who was misbehaving I would quietly point them out to my kids and tell them to look at how that child looked while he was screaming.  I would ask them to look at the mom and see how frustrated and upset she is that her child is misbehaving.  I would tell them that others see you when you misbehave just like we see this child.  I would thank them for behaving well and how proud I am that they don't misbehave in the store.

Now, my kids were not perfect and there were a few (only a few) times when someone would pitch a fit that couldn't be quickly extinguished and we would have to leave.  In those times, I would quickly try to find a worker who I could pass my partially filled cart to and tell them I was sorry but we had to leave right away.  I would grab the kids and out to the car we would go.  Buckle them all in and head straight home.  This only happened a couple times. But enough that they remembered and didn't want that to happen again.  No praise.  The idea is that I say what I am going to do and do it when it happens.

Before:
The idea here is to prepare them for what behavior you expect.  Kids are not mind-readers and they learn best when they know what is expected ahead of time.  Kids will learn from punishment of when they do something wrong but many times we can prevent the "wrongs" when we teach them how to do it "right".   The reminders in the car and telling them what they can expect helped so much.  They knew what we were getting and they knew where we were going and they knew how I wanted them to behave because I told them.

During:
In the store I gave them all important jobs.  Everyone always had a job, even if sometimes it was to "stand there and look pretty" (yes, that was sometimes a job). They were praised when they did their job and told how much they helped.  This made them feel good about themselves and they learned to function as a team.  Jobs ranged from "hold on to the cart and make sure it doesn't roll away" to "find the ketchup" to "help me push the cart" to "mark the items off the list" to "help me put the items on the check out counter".  It can be anything that will make them feel important.  Praise comes during our trip as well as after.

After:
Once in the car, I praise them again for doing such a great job in the store.  For helping me find all that we were looking for and for behaving so nicely.  If someone complimented my kids in the store I would remind them of that compliment and tell them that they should feel proud that they received a compliment, because I was!

I can't tell you how many times I was stopped by other people in the store after observing me with my kids.  They would say, "you are doing a great jog with those kids" or "I see you are teaching them money management early" or "your kids are so well behaved, a rare thing these days".  Ha ha.  For me I was just trying to survive.  I never thought about how it looked to others.  I just needed to get through the store with my kids and my sanity.  Ha ha ha.  Seriously, I was sleep deprived, never without a kid or three, and had to shop when I could and that meant bringing my brood along.  So in order to survive the trip we HAD to work together, help each other, behave the best we all could (including me) and return home with our groceries and everyone in one piece.  I do appreciate those compliments and often needed them when they came to continue to encourage me.

Kids love a job.  They love helping and they love feeling important.  That is what I tapped into so that our grocery trip or Target trip or whatever shopping trip we took was successful.

So, what happens when your child does act up in the grocery store?  Well, for me getting down on their level, eye to eye with them, holding their hands in mine and reminding them of their job during this trip and how important it was for us to work together to help each other and me usually straightened them up.  As I said before, there were times when I abandoned my cart and out the door we went, to the car and home.  This upset everyone but needed to be done so they learned that their poor choice in behavior hurt everyone including me, their siblings, and them. That fast response will teach them that you will do what you say.  As a side note here, most often poor behavior for my kids meant that they were tired and most of the time this occured when I was trying to push nap time and they really just needed a rest.  So when we got home to bed they went for a while.  Usually they fell right to sleep.

In short:
1. Prepare them for the trip.
2. Give them jobs to focus on while shopping
3. Praise during the trip and at the end.

I hope this is helpful.  Have a great day! :)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

First Aid Kits - Home and Car Kits

I think I have posted a blog about this years ago but I am too lazy to go searching for it. Okay, I went searching for it and I did find this:

A Prepared Mom Purse

Our First Aid Kit

Both are exactly what I thought I had posted. Both were written 6 years ago and a lot has happened since then.

With three kids in their late teens we are pretty active and are in our first aid kit often.  Having also moved four times in the past four years I am so thankful that we started using a tool box for our first aid kit.  It was so easy to pack it up and take it with us wherever we were going.  Sometimes it was in the car, sometimes in our travel trailer (where we lived for a bit) and then it was always the first thing we moved into our new houses. And, boy, did we USE it!!!

I am currently restocking my big first aid "Tool Box" kit.  It is a true tool box.  Well, it is more like an art kit tool box.  It has a pull out shelf and it is translucent.  It's big enough to hold a full box of meds, bandaids, etc. It looks similar to this-------------------------->

 In it I keep:

  • A tube of Advil (our go-to pain reliever) This is the small tube that you can get at the check out line section at the grocery store.  I restock it when it gets low from a larger more economical bottle of Advil.  This is the kind that has the twist off top and is a little larger than a chapstick tube.
  • Chapstick - plain flavor not extra medicated.
  • Spray neosporin - small, portable and easy to use.
  • Tube of neosporin - because the spray isn't for everything. (like eyes or wounds where you don't want to be spraying something on it)
  • portable thermometer - we have a regular old school mercury one in a protective case.
  • gauze pads
  • first aid tape
  • ACE bandage
  • pair of scissors
  • lots of band-aids in different sizes, shapes, and materials.  Some are water proof, some are not.  Some are fabric, some are not.  Some even have cartoon characters on them.
  • a clean, large, all cotton cloth (to be used as a sling, large wrap, tourniquet, etc.)
  • fingernail clippers, toenail clippers, tweezers
  • Allergy meds like Benadryl (we have a couple kids who have allergies and Benadryl works pretty effectively for them)
  • Benadryl "after bite" itch cream.
  • Small trial size of hand lotion.

There are a few things that I have found that over the years we have no longer use or that I feel like I can leave out of the first aid kit now.
  • An extra pair of contact lens.  When we were living in our trailer in between homes, I kept an extra pair of contact lenses in there.  I also had an extra pair in my purse first aid kit and an extra pair in our bug out bag. It was redundant.  In a pinch we would grab our BOB and my purse before we would grab our big first aid kit.  So the contact lenses have come out of our big first aid kit.
  • Bactine Spray - if it came in a smaller size I would keep it but I have found that Bactine over time will start to make everything stink like alcohol as the alcohol in the Bactine evaporates.  So I replaced it with Neosporin spray. 
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Car Kits:

In the car we keep a smaller first aid kit.  In my son's car he has the basics (bandaids in different sizes, neosporin spray, gauze and gauze tape, ACE bandage, tweezers, Advil, sun screen, chapstick, hand lotion)  He plays sports so I figure sports injuries will prevail, like cuts, scrapes, etc from sliding into bases and colliding with cleats.  I have a feeling his first aid kit will probably end up in his baseball bag and go with him into the dugout.

My daughter's car kit has pretty much the same stuff including a clean cloth and allergy meds.  

Our family car kits again, have pretty much the same stuff.  It also includes allergy meds and contact solution.

As you can see I have tailored the kits to what they will most likely need for whom will be in the car with them.


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Purse Kit:

In my purse I carry a small make up bag that I have filled with all the things we most likely will need.  I always have my purse with me so over the years the contents have become more tailored to exactly what we need.  Ready for this??? 
  • bandaids - few in each size, one pretty large one (I replace these as we use them)
  • Advil - a tube of Advil
  • Benadryl tablets
  • Dental Floss
  • Eye rewetting drops
  • Chapstick
  • Cough drops
  • Tampons
  • A sanitary pad
  • Hair rubber band
  • Eyeglasses repair kit
In my purse I already carry a whistle on my keychain, a small flashlight (you can get these for a dollar or so in grocery stores or at Walmart.) so I don't need these items in my first aid kit.
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Travel packs:

My kids are going away this summer on a mission trip.  While there will be a guide and chaperones each will still take a small first aid kit in their luggage.  They will be flying so some of the items will probably have to be packed in their suitcases until they get to their destination.  Then they can move those items to their backpacks. 

In their kits they will each have:
  • bandaids of different sizes and types
  • neosporin spray and cream
  • sunscreen
  • chapstick
  • a bandana
  • nail file, nail clippers, tweezers (probably these will need to be packed in their suitcase while flying)
  • Advil (travel size)
  • Benadryl Tablets (for my allergy girl)
  • small flashlight
They will be carrying a backpack each day with them while on their trip.  They will have extra socks (they will be hiking), flip flops, a sweatshirt, a rain jacket, water bottle, first aid kit, a bit of money, camera.... oh you get the idea.

Basically, think about where you need a first aid kit and then the items that you think you will need on a regular basis as well as on rare occurrences.   Find a bag or box to contain all the items in.  If it is for your car, do you need a soft pack or a hard case?  Does it need to contain a lot of items or can it be small enough to fit in your glove compartment?  Will you be using it to carry your other emergency gear like flashlight, jumper cables, rags or towel?  Personally, I like to keep these things separate from my first aid kit.  Often my first aid kit floats around in the far back of the car or in the trunk.

Everyone is different and everyone's needs are different.  Assess your family's needs and adjust the contents of your kit accordingly.  Think about these main ideas though: small cuts, bites/stings, pain reliever, allergy meds, larger wounds needing wraps (like gauze or cloth), more serious injury like broken bones or sprains.  

Another option is to buy a premade first aid kit rather than make your own.  A good kit has everything that you would need for general first aid events.  Then over time you can tailor it to your own needs.