DIY Family Safety Series Part 2

We don’t want to even think about what could happen to our children or anyone in our family.  That being said, we also cannot live naively and not prepare to protect ourselves and our children.  Part two of our family safety series will focus on personal safety in regards to physical attacks on our persons and possessions.  We have to be ever vigilant in our care of our children and our homes.

As a single mom, the risks are sometimes greater than homes with more than one parent.  There are a few creative ideas you can implement to help yourself and your children not be as much of target.

  • Go to Goodwill and buy the biggest most rugged pair of men’s boots you can find and place them by the front door in obvious view.  Granted this will not deter the normal neighbors who see you and your children coming and going with no male presence.  But it could deter a prowler who doesn’t belong near you or your kids.
  • Carry a body alarm or whistle.
  • Don’t place bushes, shrubs and trees near windows inside or outside of your home.  This gives burglars/attackers potential hiding places.
  • When walking to your vehicle, keep your keys in your hand with the longest key grasped between your thumb and forefinger pointing outward like a weapon.  If someone comes at you from behind, reach behind and stab your attacker in the eye or anywhere else on the face you can reach.
  • Download the Silent Bodyguard App for iPhone.  The Silent Bodyguard is a mobile app that sends an SOS distress signal with GPS coordinates to immediately reach potential rescuers without alerting any onlookers.
  • Review the local sexual offender registry with your children.  You never know how remembering someone’s face from somewhere can help in just the right moment.

The Boy Scouts of America have The Three R’s of Personal Safety and Protection to fend off Sexual Abuse:

  1. Recognize situations that place you at risk of being molested, how child molesters operate, and realize that anyone could be a molester.
  2. Resist unwanted and inappropriate attention. Resistance will stop most attempts at molestation.
  3. Report attempted or actual molestation to a parent or attempted or actual molestation to a parent or other trusted adult. This prevents further abuse and helps to protect other children. Let the child know he or she will not be blamed for what occurred.

Teach children to trust their instincts. Explain that if they ever feel scared or uncomfortable, they should get away as fast as they can. Tell them that sometimes adults they know may make them feel uncomfortable, and they should still get away as fast as possible and tell another adult what happened. Reassure children that you will help them when they need it.

Teach your children to be assertive. Make sure they know that it’s okay to say no to an adult and to run away from adults in dangerous situations.

Encourage your children to play with other children. There’s safety in numbers!

For the sake of being prepared, what should you do if you find yourself in the worst case scenario?

  • Keep a current, complete physical description of your child, current photograph, fingerprints, current medical records and dental charts, and sample DNA in a child safety kit.  You can get a free Child Safety Kit mailed to you from Polly Klaas.  Or you can download a kit here.

If you or anyone you know is in the awful position of realizing their child is missing, follow these guidelines:

  1. Immediately report the child missing to local law enforcement.
  2. Ask law enforcement to enter the child into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Missing Persons File.
  3. Limit access to the home until law enforcement arrives and has the opportunity to collect possible evidence.
  4. Give law enforcement investigators all information on the child including the child safety kit contents and the circumstances related to their disappearance.
  5. Call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).

If you or anyone you know has information regarding child pornography, child molestation, child prostitution and/or the online enticement of children, log onto www.cybertipline.com.  This is the NCMEC tip website.

For further resources regarding the protection of children from abduction and exploitation, go to these websites.

God willing, none of you will ever need this information, nor will anyone you know.  Hopefully, this series will make you aware of the conversations you need to have with your children of any age.  Periodically bring these topics up.  I think as parents sometimes we think, “OK, whew!  Glad that’s done!”  Then go on and never bring it up again because of the subject matter.  This is a mistake.  We are doing our kids a disservice by not reminding them that it’s OK to look out for themselves and to have personal boundaries of all kinds.

Give your kids a hug, tell them you love them, and pray for your safety and theirs tonight.

Pin It

DIY Family Safety Series Part 1


Ever get that unexplained feeling that you’re not alone?  All it takes is one look at a newspaper or the local evening news to make anyone scared to leave their house.  As a single mom I can’t tell you the number of times I have worried if that car was really following us, or if I had just seen that man at the last store we were in, or worse, wondering if your child was safe at the mall or the bus stop.  I’m not proud to admit it but my son has been a latch key kid at different times during his childhood, until 5th grade when we started homeschooling.  That’s not to say that everyone should feel bad if there kids are latch key as well; but I think I can confidently say that no parent likes not being there for their children in any way.  Working families have no choice but to do the best they can to teach their kids personal safety in certain situations when everyone can’t be together.

There are some simple steps you can take as a parent to keep yourself and your children as safe as possible together or apart.  It will require some thoughtful planning on your part and some conversations you have been naively avoiding thinking it won’t happen to you or your kids.  The first part in our safety series will deal with family safety and basic emergency preparedness.  Next week, we will follow up with personal safety for moms and their kids.

1.  Have a code word for texts, calls and unplanned caregivers.

When I was four, I was playing on the playground at my preschool.  I remember my teacher calling me over after a woman had drove up to the parking lot, gotten out and came over to our area.  I think the only reason I remember this is because what happened afterward.  My teacher and the lady came over to me and my teacher told me that I needed to go with this nice lady because my mom had been in an accident.  I can’t remember when exactly but my mom had the stranger talk with me and told me never under any circumstance should I ever go somewhere with a stranger.  I believe we had even had the talk in preschool, too.

I don’t have to tell you how obstinate a four year old can be.  If you are a parent, you know!  :)  It took minutes, it seemed like hours, for my teacher to even convince me that this person wasn’t a kidnapper.  I couldn’t believe my teacher was telling me to go with a stranger.  Now, here’s the funny part, the lady was a plain clothes cop.  I didn’t care what my teacher told me about this woman, I was not leaving with her no matter what.

In time, they finally told me that my mom had a wreck.  She had been hit by a slow moving train.  She was four months pregnant with my sister and the doctor did not want to release her from the hospital.  For whatever reason, there was no one in the family they could reach by phone to come pick me up before daycare closed.  My mom was a single mom, too.  At the time, the easiest, quickest solution was to have a local officer pick me up and bring me to the hospital to be with my mom until our family could be contacted and be there for us.

Even though this was definitely a situation that required an unknown person to pick up and care for a child there could have been one thing that might have helped the situation.  If we had a family code word we could have prevented fear, confusion and loss of precious time in an emergency from happening.  A family code word is a word you and your children decide upon to use with each other if you are relaying a message by text, phone or in person if something out of the ordinary is happening and you cannot talk to each other.

2.  Come up with a family escape route in case of fire or natural disaster at your home and while you are at work and school.

Actually have a family drill and practice the best escape routes from your home in any possible scenario.  Have these drills regularly to make sure the plans are memorized and your children know exactly what to do in an emergency.  Have a plan for tornado, fire, earthquake, flood and heaven forbid a break in.

It’s also a good idea to have a plan if disaster strikes while everyone is at school and work during the day.  If the kids are at school, most likely they will remain in the care of responsible adults until they are back in your care or safe with authorities.  If something happens before or after school and they ride the bus or with a friend, then what?  Families should have an outside contact person, like Aunt May, that they agree to call in case the phones don’t work in their town.  Granted if this is true, calling Aunt May will be a problem :)  But let’s assume landlines in your town are out but not cell towers, or only some cell towers.  You can’t reach each other or home.  If you can all call Aunt May a few hours away where the phones are still in working order, then you can find out if everyone is OK and arrange a meeting time/place to be reunited.

3.  Teach kids simple emergency preparedness.

You remember the drills we learned in school:  stop, drop and roll; don’t touch a door handle in a fire; feel the wood of a door before opening in a fire; stand in a doorway in an earthquake; how to dial 911 and give pertinent information police need; never enter high water; which type of fire you can throw salt on and which kind you throw water on; how to use a fire extinguisher; if they are old enough, sign up to take CPR as a family.

4.  Create a First Aid kit for home and the car.

We have a homemade first aid kit that is quite large.  We have full size bottles and boxes of most of the items on the following list.  We also have a small plastic handbag that we keep a smaller, travel first aid kit in for vacations when we travel.  You can adapt these items and kit sizes to your families needs easily.  Some people might need supplies of asthma medications and daily prescription medications that are necessary such as diabetic medications and blood pressure pills.

You will need:

  • Band-aids, all shapes and sizes
  • Bandages, all sizes
  • Gauze
  • Gauze tape
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Heat wrap
  • Cold pack
  • Aspirin, Advil and Tylenol
  • Ziploc Bags
  • Q-tips
  • Wipes
  • Tweezers Tums
  • Anti Diarrhea Medication
  • Ex-Lax
  • Pepto Bismol
  • Benadryl
  • Powder
  • Cotton Balls
  • Alcohol
  • Peroxide
  • Burn Ointment
  • Visine
  • Hydro cortisone Cream
  • Cough & Cold Medicine
  • Saline Solution, for nose and eyes
  • GermX
  • Iodine Solution
  • Tweezers
  • Vaseline Jelly
  • Lotion
  • Thermometer
  • Disposable Ponchos
  • Compass
  • Whistle
  • Blanket
  • Distilled Water
  • Canned goods
  • Radio & batteries
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Matches
  • Candles
  • Aloe Vera
  • Baking Soda
  • Elastic Bandages
  • Ice Pack
  • Syrup of Ipecac
  • Latex Gloves
  • Magnifying Glass
  • Burn Cream
  • Sling
  • Tissue
  • Syringe
  • Soap
  • Mirror
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Safety Pins

Once you have assembled all your family’s necessary first aid items, find a box or plastic container that will hold everything and keep the kit in an easily accessible place for you and your children.

For more information on how to get your family ready in case of natural disasters or fire, go to The American Red Cross Site and see how they teach families to be prepared.

Next week, personal safety for your family.


Pin It

2014 Garden Update

IMG_20140626_155843047

In spite of the fact that the neighbors chickens and one wayward dog completely leveled 5 trays of seedlings back in April we have managed to put together a garden anyway, albeit much smaller than we planned for this year.  I can’t tell you how happy I am that there are hundreds of blooms spring forth from this tiny backyard garden.  If all those blooms survive and produce fruit, it will definitely be an added bonus to help our little family save and make healthy choices.

The brown, Goodwill special garden bench in the pic above is my favorite seat at the house.  I spend a lot of time sitting and thinking about things on that bench.  It’s by far the most peaceful place in my life.  I don’t know what I’d do if this little patch of land wasn’t a reality for me.

IMG_20140626_155728293

Check out the tomato and zucchini babies!  I am growing only organic, heirloom variety seeds in my garden.

IMG_20140626_155928669

In the next month or so we are tilling the ground to make three more garden patches like this one.  So the back yard will be four garden patches of vegetables.  There is an old barn/shed on the back edge of our property and we plan on clearing off the vines and brush that have grown over the structure in the fall when all the green dies away and leaves dry, brown, fibrous stalks so it’s easier to trim.  I’ll be putting in supports all along that structure and planting blackberries, raspberries and blueberries in the spring along that area.

How is your garden growing this year?


Pin It

2014 Growing Season Is Here

103_2925

And what we have here ladies and gentlemen is jalapeno, bell pepper, eggplant, parsley, and leek seedlings.  I started all these on January 23rd on the advice on the Farmer’s Almanac.  2014’s growing season is here and I couldn’t be happier!  I know I didn’t update with last year’s bucket garden results the way I intended.  But let me show you my plants about July at the beginning of harvesting.

July Bucket Garden

If you turn and face the other direction on my porch you would see my her garden area and the onion/leek spot and rainwater catchment container.  For a first time bucket garden we had a pretty good season.  I learned alot.  And will definitely use that knowledge to my advantage this year and share with you.  Here is one morning’s harvest in early July off four tomato plants.

Tomatoes

I use heirloom seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.  The tomatoes above are the yellow pear, pearly pink, mini orange, and genovese.  I highly recommend Baker Creek’s selection of seeds.  Every variety I grew was the best tasting I had ever had.  You won’t be disappointed.  and don’t feel like you have waited too late to start.  Last year I started my seeds at the end of February and first of March and I still had more tomatoes and peppers than we could eat.  Plus the plants produced late into the year since it took a while to get cold.  I was still harvest at the end of October and first of November.  I saved seeds from last year’s harvest to plant this year and have $0 out of pocket expense to start my bucket garden this year.

One thing I am doing differently this year is I am using seed trays instead of egg shells for growing my seedlings.  And I’m also using continuous light to help them grow big and strong indoors before transfer.  I didn’t have alot of money for artificial grow lights and stands and all that so here is my cheap solution.

103_2928

Yes, that is my stove with the hood light on.  The seedlings are loving that light, warm place.  If I’m cooking I move them to the table out of the way.  Otherwise, this is their home this year.  So here’s to great gardens everyone!

Have you started seeds indoors this year?

Pin It

Freezer Cooking

This past week I have done some batch freezer cooking every time I’ve been in the kitchen.  Recipes I’ve put away are 6 breakfast burritos, 18 beef and bean burritos, and 6 chicken verde taquitos.  Plus, I pre-chopped 5 pounds of onions, 6 bell peppers, and 3 zucchini for the freezer.  Here are the recipes if you are interested.

Breakfast burritos:  7 whole wheat flour 6″ tortillas, 14 eggs-scrambled, 14 turkey sausage links-chopped, 1 box of frozen spinach-sqeezed completely dry, and 1 cup of any kind of cheese you like.

I did not season the scrambled eggs.  I try to use very little sodium.  Plus, I used pepper jack cheese which is full of flavor.  I mixed all the ingredients together then scooped approximately 1/2 cup onto each tortilla shell and rolled up.

Tip:  These are decent sized breakfast burritos, not huge, but decent.  You can cut these in half with a serrated bread knife before you microwave it and just eat half with a piece of fruit yogurt and coffee and have a very filling, nutritious breakfast and make the burritos last longer.

Beaf and Bean Burritos:  8 inch flour tortillas, 1 lb of fajita seasoned ground beef with onions and peppers, 1 cup chopped zucchini, 1 bag of birdseye southwestern seasoned rice-or 2 cups of any rice your have that is precooked, 1 bag of black beans-2 cups-cooked from scratch, 1 cup of cheese, and 1 can of diced tomatoes.

I always cook my beans from scratch to control the sodium and seasonings.  To reduce gas and stomach upset, I recommend the quick soak method on the back of most dry bean bags.  It has worked every time I make a pot of beans.  For these black beans I added light salt, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and chili powder, not much because the meat has fajita seasoning.  When the beans are finished I completely drain them.  I just browned the ground beef and drained it.  Then in the same pan I sauteed the onions, peppers and zucchini.  I saute separately so the grease from the beef doesn’t absorb into the vegetables.  Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl.  Lay out each tortilla shell and scoop approximately 3/4 cup of the mixture onto the shell.  Fold over one side of the shell to cover the bean mixture, then fold in the ends, then roll the shell on over and close it up.  This makes a sort of pocket burrito with a square shape.

Tip:  I plan on serving these with a guaca salad and fruit for a nutritious, quick lunch.

Chicken Verde Taquitos:  6 whole wheat tortilla shells, 2 cans chicken breast meat-drained, 1 box frozen spinach-completely squeezed dry, 1 package cream cheese, and 1 can of diced green chiles.

Mix together all ingredients.  Scoop approximately 1/2 cup of mixture onto tortilla and form into a thin, long strip.  Tightly roll up tortilla and place in freezer bag.

Tip:  I plan on baking these on my pizza stone and spraying with smart balance cooking spray.  This will save calories by not frying them in grease as is the traditional preparation but  not sacrifice any of the brown crispy goodness.  I will also be serving these with guaca salad.

What are recipes you use for freezer/batch cooking?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...Pin It