It’s something that people really don’t like to think about – the “what if’s” in life. But in reality, it’s very prudent to consider “what-if’s.” Here in the US it’s National Preparedness Month (September). The government is encouraging everybody to do at least a little bit of preparation for those “what-if’s.”
Now, my husband swears that things are probably never going to go wrong. He says he’s been living here for decades and has never had much of a power outage, never had a bad blizzard, and that tornadoes and flooding aren’t going to come anywhere near here.
Me, well, I trust my hubby. But I also like my own peace of mind. Besides… my kids getting sick, me getting sick, him getting sick – and nobody being able to make it to the grocery store for a week… I can see that happening.
So whatever the “what-if” I like to have some supplies on hand. I found an awesome website that has step-by-step “baby steps” that walk you through getting your supplies together. It doesn’t matter what level of preparedness you’re looking for – a brief power outage, a week-long winter storm, or even a layoff where you need to draw on a few month’s reserves – these little “baby steps” will help you to accomplish those goals.
The 7 Day Challenge
The girls over at Food Storage Made Easy also just ran a “Seven Day Challenge” and I can proudly say my family survived it. Ok. With a long list of “to-do’s” at the end of 7 days, my family survived it.
The gals set up a different “situation” each day that we had to go along with and the kids and I had a blast. It was challenging, to say the least. But very fun.
Day 1 – Flood!
I was ready for this! I’d already gotten backpacks set up for the family with 72 hours worth of food in them. I had a list of almost everything I needed to grab. We had 1 hour to pack the van and “evacuate” and we got our stuff packed and ready to go in under that! Yay us!
I did realize I needed to add several things to my “grab-list.” And that I needed to figure out where we would evacuate to… I think my MIL’s house is most likely. In which case I need to print some directions to her house because I never pay attention enough to remember it with my hubby driving
I think this was one of the best days. You may not get caught in a flood situation, but there’s no way to tell when you’re going to lose electric service for awhile and need something to eat (or do… I had coloring books for the kiddos!) It’s really very practical there’s something on the shelves (or in the bag) that can be grabbed and eaten quickly.
Day 2 – Pandemic!
Well, given the uncertain state of affairs in world health, we could be facing this issue very soon. I felt pretty good about this one too – I’ve been working on our first aid kit quite a bit. I changed out all the outdated things and restocked what needed to be restocked. It’s a pretty comprehensive kit. We made homemade chicken soup for our “sick” boys and Cassidy and I took good care of them.
If there were really a pandemic situation I’d set up an actual sick room and care for them a little differently. There was also a link to an excellent “Home Care of the Flu” guide I found very helpful. You can download it here. Another gal doing the challenge posted that link – I’m very grateful for her!!
Day 3 – Dinner Guests!
This was an “every day” emergency and it was TONS of fun. The situation was that my hubby called home to let me know that he and his boss would be there for dinner in an hour – his vegetarian boss!! I had to have an appetizer, main course, two sides, and a dessert made… and I could not go to the store!
Well I managed to pull it off, though I lucked out because we had a box of fresh veggies from our CSA farm.
I made a platter of fresh veggie slices with a homemade veggie dip (fresh sour cream base) for our appetizer. I made Jamaican Beans and Rice (from Nourishing Traditions) as our main dish, though I did use canned beans instead of dried, and canned chilies. We had a big salad full of fresh veggies as one side and steamed broccoli as the other side. Our dessert was an oatmeal/pumpkin bar thing I found online because I knew I had canned pumpkin! I had to substitute canned coconut milk for milk (we were totally out of milk, even if the veggie boss would have been ok with it). Anyways, the dessert came out very tasty, so I’ll actually make that again!
The kids helped me clean the house up while the food cooked, and we all got changed into fresh clothes and I had time to teach them a little bit about how to answer the door politely! Needless to say when my hubby actually walked in the door the house looked pretty nice. I was proud of myself and I’d like to think I could deal with real last-minute guests as gracefully.
Day 4 – Money is Tight!
I can say that this day wasn’t terribly challenging because I lived this for a long time – never being able to do anything and having to watch every penny because it was a choice between buying food or losing power. (life is very different now, read my story for more on that!)
This day involved no cable (which we don’t have anyways), no internet (oh no!!), no cell phones…. and water service got cut off!!
Now the “no internet” is hard. I’ll admit that, well, I do a lot online. I do, after all, run a website. Scott and I also play a game together online.
The one big surprise for me on this day, though, was just how hard “no water” was. I have quite a few gallons of water stored, but it takes an amazingly large amount of water to wash dishes when you have no running water!! Scott said if we ever actually didn’t have water due to disaster that he would go to the bay and bring back water in buckets for us to boil and use for cleaning dishes. We had plenty to drink, but washing wasn’t easy.
Day 5 – Earthquake!
Uh oh. No water again today. And no power… I decided I should add some paper plates to my “pantry essentials” list!! We raided the 72 hour kits again.
The foods in our freezer were supposed to be good still (they hadn’t spoiled yet since power went off). So we were able to have a cooked meal on the grill outside. I’m glad the weather was nice, and I’m glad we had the grill. Especially since my hubby did the cooking
Another thing about the earthquake day – a beam fell onto the computer. This could be a huge issue for many families because it could virtually destroy all their data (think about all your pictures!!) Luckily there are quite a few solutions to data storage. I personally back my computer up to a remote server as well as an external hard drive that stays here at the house. The peace of mind I get from this is incredible. I was all set for this aspect of the earthquake
Day 6 – Healthy Lifestyle
Well this emergency wasn’t an emergency at all for us! A family member gets very ill from having a bad diet. We already eat very healthy food because of many food sensitivities and intolerance in our family. I did differ a bit from the challenge because I don’t believe that eating “low fat” is really very healthy for us. I was able to share some links and thoughts so maybe someone else in the challenge benefited from some new information. (Read my nutrition info for more about good eating)
The one “healthy lifestyle” thing I do think I at least need to do more of is getting outside. The kids tend to spend a lot more time outside than I do. I need to join them more.
Day 7 – You Need What?!
By Day 7 everyone, including the gals at Food Storage Made Easy, were very tired. It really was a big challenge!! So this day was “easier” in that we just had to make a dessert with what we had at home – and no milk, eggs, or butter.
This worked out perfectly for me. I just picked our oatmeal/pumpkin bar recipe again
Summing it Up
Perhaps what made me the most proud about the Challenge was the part of it that went all 7 days – we couldn’t spend any money for 7 days! Since the first day of the challenge landed squarely on the day I was supposed to go to the co-op for milk, cheese, and butter it truly was a challenge.
But we made it. I spent no money at all for 7 days. It’s amazing to think about just how many small opportunities to spend money come up, or how much I take for granted a run to the market on a given day. Lots of food for thought.
I came away from the challenge with a long to-do list and a great appreciation for what we have. I feel good because I’m sure that we could handle it if anything does knock our power out for a few days. I really like that peace of mind And I’m so grateful for blessings we have now.