Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Nathanael is 6!

I realized I only have one post in March, and with 2 birthdays in March that didn't make much sense.

Nathanael is our amazing 6 year old. He was born in the middle of the night in a small town hospital in southeastern Ohio, 6 years ago... ask me about it sometime haha.

Here he is with Samuel on a day they decided they needed to match. (Aunt Sherri bought these shirts for Michael and Benjamin, and yes, they are still in good shape lol!)

Nathanael has been reading for a year now, and loves to read the scriptures with the family. He also reads books but not as much as he likes reading aloud. He will read to Samuel (who is figuring out how to read, too now) and Timothy and Christopher, who all love it.

He reads books about planets and weather and animals and numbers. He says he is in 1st grade because he finished his Kindergarten books. Good enough for me.

He loves science and the Magic School Bus. He is a lot like Michael at this age in some ways, in other ways he is definitely his own person! He likes being a big brother and sleeping on the top bunk now.

He has "shark teeth" meaning he has his adult teeth coming in before his baby teeth are out... he hasn't lost any teeth yet but needs to soon!

His favorite things right now are Batman, Batman, and Batman... he had a Batman cake for his birthday, with a Batman candle from Aunt Sherri, and he loves fruit. For his birthday dinner we had blueberry pancakes :) and banana cake.

Here are some pictures from his birthday. He wanted to wear his Batman pajamas from Christmas for his birthday "party" with our family. He also loves Legos... that is a Lego Batman shirt (his new favorite) and Lego Star Wars Pajamas. He likes playing these games on our Playstation 2, as well as any computer game on the computer and word searches anywhere. He loves figuring stuff out! Happy Birthday Nathanael!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Our emergency preparedness adventure, so far

We've been really inspired lately to work on our food storage, 72 hour kits, etc, ever since last fall and before. We set a goal to get SOME sort of 72 hour kits ready by last General Conference (first weekend in October) and we do have a rudimentary kit that would keep us alive for 72 hours, all 9 of us.

Since then I've done a lot of research, received a large blessing in the form of another family's excess food storage, and really felt firmly led to make sure we have our food storage underway and meeting goals set by Tom and myself, involving the kids of course.

The research has been fun. There are so many ideas out there! Some will work for us and some don't, some I combine with others to make something that works for us. Two of our favorites are Food Storage Made Easy and Safely Gathered In.

So, we are reworking our 72 hour kits with help from several websites (see updated links on our blog), have fully met our goal of a 3 months supply of foods (see Food Storage Made Easy) we eat everyday and replenishing it as we can, and have a goal of 6 months of long term food storage (www.stockupfood.com) and are getting there, a little at a time. I currently have 250 more lbs of food with help from our ward food storage specialists that I need to repackage for long term storage. And we are ordering more, thanks to a tax refund and other financial blessings like paying off a long term debt we owed. As well as others.

I have a firm testimony of doing our part in what the Lord asks, and he will bless us beyond our capacity to receive it!!! Yet again this month this has been shown in our lives.

The kids' part in this is helping incorporate food storage items into our every day meals. They are not big fans of powdered milk, but after eating FOURTH helpings of tuna chowder, Samuel realized it had powdered milk in it and didn't care! Christopher's favorite food is food storage soup mix. He hated baby food and chows this stuff down like it's the best thing on earth, next to mom of course. Michael and Benjamin are learning to cook, and help make meals but their favorite is making cookies. The nice thing is, I can tell Michael, go start this, and he can, and Benjamin is bored, I say, go make cookies, we don't have any, and he can go do it all himself without a lot of help. Emilie loves helping make bread. Any kind.

Nathanael and Samuel help count cans and bags and boxes of cereal (their favorite form of food storage). Timothy just likes eating it. But he will stack cans and likes to hide in the pantry.

So that covers (from the Provident Living page...) 3 month supply, longer term supply, we are building a financial reserve... I started to wonder what we should do about the 4th item I felt we really needed to get in order... and that's water! What good is all the rest going to do if we have no water? So, we did our research. How on earth do you store enough water for 2 weeks (the ideal amount) for 9 people? We really didn't like the idea of 55 gallon drums... what are you going to do with those if you need to leave? We found an option we liked- 5 gallon mylar bags stored in boxes- and purchased it, and the kids are having a blast filling them... hehe. We call them the silver slugs in boxes. Yup. Precious resource! Today we found creative ways to store them without tripping over them. Michael and Benjamin moved them under their bed. Out of sight, not going to be crushed, and easily accessible. Each box can easily be moved and thrown into our van when needed, and easy to rotate too.

Wheat- I never wanted to buy wheat, because it made no sense to me to have wheat and not be able to use it. So, suddenly I HAD wheat, and didn't want to waste it. Then I found LOTS of websites on how to use wheat so my family was used to it. (Preparedness Matters as well as the others above) I already used whole wheat flour in our treats to make them healthier, in our pizza dough (a staple!) and in many other things, but now I was learning how to do other things with just the wheat and didn't have to have a grinder! (though, also with our tax refund, we are getting one...)

Oats- We LOVE oats here, but it costs so much and we are through one of those enormous canisters in no time... I was so thrilled to discover the Family Home Storage Centers and our ward ordering from them. I now have 50 lbs... and this isn't going to be all, we need to get more! My kids would eat Oats all the time.

Sugar. Easy to store, people laugh at how much food we store (it was weird to me to find that some people shop for a week at a time... or less!) and when we buy 50 lbs of sugar at a time they think we're crazy! (are we a day care or a hotel?)

Anyway, to sum it all up, we have been blessed abundantly and hope to pass on blessings to others. I wanted this information to be shared, and wanted to share the links that have helped us so far. I love the recipes I've found, the advice, the small steps and the large ones, the inexpensive food storage ideas (because that's what we need) but also looking at the fun expensive ones (window shopping!) (wow, a year's food storage without any planning, just point and click!) and then exploring links on these other pages and learning so much more!

Next step, gardening!