Bridge The Bump | Pregnancy and Babywearing Coat Extender

If you live in a cold winter climate and you have – or are about to have – a baby, Bridge the Bump coat extender is for you.


[su_button url=”https://www.facebook.com/pg/HelloParentCo/videos/?ref=page_internal” target=”blank” style=”flat” background=”#ffffff” color=”#395a7c” size=”7″ center=”yes” radius=”0″ icon=”icon: arrow-circle-right” icon_color=”#fa4c40″]See more Product Review videos on Facebook![/su_button]

Bridge The Bump – Pregnancy and Babywearing Coat Extender

Learn more at bridgethebump.com
If you live in a cold winter climate and you have – or are about to have – a baby, Bridge the Bump is for you. This coat extender zips into any coat and provides the extra width you need for your maternity bump. Once baby is out in the world, flip the Bridge the Bump upside down for a pocket of warmth and wind-protection while you wear the little one around.

Overall Rating: 5

RATING SCALE 1 – 5

Innovation Rating: 5

Bridge The Bump is adaptable. It successfully matches zipper and color options for nearly every winter coat brand on the market. It features an adjustable belt to position your BTB for ideal style and fit and provides up to an additional 12 inches of width.

Usability Rating: 5

It looks great and works without fuss. You keep your pregnant belly or new baby warm through the cold winter months.

Price Rating: 5

$85
No need to purchase a new maternity winter coat or infant/baby snowsuit when you have Bridge The Bump. At $85, this is a smart purchase with immediate impact.

How My Son Taught me to Get Outside this Winter

My son pushed me to embrace nature this winter.

This was my son’s second winter, and, because of how mild it started out, we found the transition into cold weather a little more difficult. When it came, we weren’t ready to be stuck indoors because we had grown accustomed to going on long walks every day. And since the weather was still so unpredictable, I found that the cold days came as a sad surprise every time.

We have always been nature lovers, to be sure, and we have always therefore tried to at least leave the house even on the coldest days. But my son’s love for the outdoors is something altogether more fundamental to his temperament and more key to his everyday happiness.

Since he was a tiny tiny baby, my son has been drawn outside in so many ways. Walking around outside would bring him calm during his greatest upsets, entertainment during his worst boredom, and sleep during his times of being most what we in the baby world call “overtired.”

This showed me that he saw being outside as a necessary part of his life – not to get exercise or to reach a specific destination, but to generally feel good. He was a happier baby when he spent time outside (and there’s lots of science to back him up).

Because of this aspect of my son’s personality, he taught me to view nature in this way as well. He showed me that being outside should be a part of my day because it is naturally something to which we are all drawn. Maybe the daily grind separates adults from their outdoor side, but our kids give us a chance to get back out there!

My son’s quiet encouragement to get outside gave us the opportunity to connect with other parents and kids who did the same.

My son’s quiet encouragement to get outside more often gave us the opportunity to meet other parents and their kids who did the same. That led us to become involved in a wonderful group called Hike it Baby, which encourages parents and children around the worlds to get outside and walk as often as they can.

Through my involvement with Hike it Baby, I have added a few more walks to our week and those walks have included parents and kids from my area.  Thus I have not only enjoyed many hikes in my town, but also met several other moms and built great friendships.  Hike it Baby is a fantastic organization because it takes that natural tendency for babies (and little ones of most ages) to want to get outside, and puts it into practice.

Another good resource is LocalHikes.com, which offers information on some hikes that may be near you (I say “good,” not “great,” because it doesn’t have any hikes in my totally hike-able home state, Michigan). I also found this blog post from The Wilderness Society to be quite helpful, especially when planning my own hikes for the first time.

But of course, wherever you live and however you do it, getting outside is the most important part. Our kids are drawn to the outdoors in a unique way. When we see that quality in them as a chance to experience the outdoors with them, we might just open up new doors for our parent-child friendships.

5 Great Books For Storytime As Winter Winds Down

There’s little better than staying inside with a good book or two. Here are five wintery books that we’ve enjoyed this year.

There’s little better than staying inside with a good book or two, even in a mild winter like we’ve had this year in Vermont.

With a growing child, I’ve been taking more and more joy in perusing the shelves of my local bookstore for new and exciting things to read at story time. Here’re five wintery books that we’ve been reading recently.

Here are five wintery books that we’ve enjoyed this year.

Katy and the Big Snow, Virginia Lee Burton

 

23539_4This is a book I remember from my childhood: the story of an engine named Katy in the city of Geopolis during a major snow storm.  It’s a book full of wonderful illustrations that are rich in detail. When the city is snowed in, it’s Katy who plows everyone out, saving the day. Strength and persistence are the key theme here, and it’s the perfect book to read when we have our next big storm.

Beyond the Pond, Joseph Kuefler

maxresdefault

It’s the cover of this book that drew me in a boy and his dog looking deep into a pond, with reeds, fish, sharks, and squid lurking below the surface. The boy’s pond goes deeper than expected, and with bold, minimal illustrations, he goes in search of exceptional adventures, discovering a fantastic world on the other side. It’s a story about being brave and curious, but also that even small places can be exciting to explore.

Over and Under the Snow, by Kate Messner and art by Christopher Silas Neal
Winter

978145213646211

Perfect for exploring the outside world, crunching over hard snow. As a young girl and her father go skiing in the woods, they learn all about the hidden world under the snow. Squirrels, foxes, bears, owls and more live in the forest throughout the winter months. I’ve found this to be a great read for a curious child who loves animals. The story is fantastic, but at the back, there’s a great appendix with blurbs about each animal featured in the book.

The Tea Party In The Woods, Akiko Miyakoshi

tea-party-woods

I reviewed this book the other day, and I honestly have to say that this is probably one of my most favorite children novels of all time. A young girl goes out into the woods to take a pie to her grandmother, and along the way, stumbles upon a fantastic party in the woods. This is a story about friends and sharing, and it’s accompanied by some wonderful artwork.

PUFF, William Wondriska

81VX5eDHC2L-1

At a certain age, toddlers fall head over heels for trains. This book is a cute, minimalist take on train stories, about a small engine named Puff, who helps at a freight yard. When a huge snow storm makes it hard for the diesel engines to move a train, Puff fulfills his wishes to see the world by stepping up to save the day. This book is filled with bold, simple images and typography, and it’s a neat little story.

What books would you recommend for a winter story time?

How My Daughter Taught Me to Just Show Up

A snow drought plagues Vermont this winter. Temperatures drop from unseasonably warm to downright arctic, with little snowfall.

It’s dispiriting to drive up to the mountain only to see dirt, rocks, and sad patches of snow.

We enrolled our seven-year-old daughter in ski lessons at Smuggler’s Notch this winter. It’s her second season skiing, and the program lasts for eight Saturdays in the winter.

The problem is there’s little snow or coverage. Bring in the snow machines and fake snow.

But while we sulk and try to drum up an ounce of hope about riding that day, my daughter wakes up on Saturdays bright eyed and bushy tailed, raring to go. She doesn’t see the forest. She sees the trees.

We drop her off in the morning and take a few runs. Rocks. Ice. Signs warning of the danger of low snow coverage.

And then we pick her up. Time to ride as a family. Her earnest nature getting on and off of the chairlift warms my icy heart.

Watching her fling down the mountain paralleled for the first time brings us so much joy. She zooms past us at an alarming rate, turning her head to give us a smug smirk. She beat us.

This is why we head to the mountain every Saturday, come rain or ice or dirt. We show up week after week, good or bad. Because that’s what skiing and snowboarding is all about. It’s what life is all about.

You show up. Sometimes it’s mucky and slick as all hell. And sometimes it pours sweet powder around you and falling feels like flipping into a sea of marshmallows.

I think about this often on the mountain. Just show up. Tune in to the sound of every turn, wind whipping past, and cold, brisk air.

Just show up. And sometimes, you’ll be rewarded with the most profound joy life and nature has to offer.

What My Son Won’t Remember But I Always Will

It was weekend that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. My son though? The one who made it so memorable for me? He won’t remember a thing.

A few weeks ago, as the super storm dumped ice and snow and sleet on our city, my little family stocked up on groceries and got ready for a long, locked-in weekend.

Conventional wisdom (and all the parents ever) says that parenting through a blizzard can painful and –true- our house is a little worse for wear than it was before the storm hit but, much to our surprise, our weekend was fantastic.

We made a snowman, and we went sledding. We read books for hours in the blanket fort we made in the living room. We lay on our backs and caught snowflakes on our tongues. We stirred homemade hot chocolate and, with a hearty helping of rainbow sprinkles, a batch of milky ice-cream made from snow. There were no tears, no fits, no tantrums.

Exhausted from play, and from endless mommy and daddy time, naps and bedtimes were simple and pleasant. The weekend that was supposed to be madness was, instead, a weekend of parental fantasy.

My boy turned two the weekend before the storm, and, in the past month his vocabulary has become broader and his words clearer. As we snuggled after his bath on the snowy Saturday night, he asked to look out the window.

As he peered out at the falling snow, he pressed one hand to the window glass and one on my check, he turned his eyes towards mine and, with earnestness I’ve not before seen in him, he said, simply, “I love you, mommy, thank you for snow.”

The weekend, our snowy, locked in blizzard was beautiful. It’s a weekend that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. My son, though? The one who made it so memorable for me? He won’t remember a thing.

Though he’ll probably recall the snow for a little while, and beg for snow ice-cream for a little while longer, by the time he’s a boy, the memories will have faded away. He won’t recall the cuddles in our blanket fort or the snowman he patted into being. He won’t remember staying up for extra books or cracking the eggs for our brunch. He won’t remember his first sled ride or the wetness of the snow or the way his hands turned pink before he was ready to come inside.

Stocksy_txp6128bcddj1p000_Small_591682

Though my boy won’t remember our beautiful weekend, I’m confident that time that we spent and the love that we shared made quite an impact.

My son won’t remember how he stretched and reached to tie the blanket above our couch or how her placed pillow carefully on the floor, but I hope moments like these will stack upon one another until he knows, fully and without question, that ours is the kind of home it’s okay to make a mess in as long as were making it together.

He won’t remember staying up late for extra books or how mommy and daddy fought sleep as hard as him to enjoy a few more minutes. He won’t remember which books we read over and over or the way hi curled his body into mine when his eyes wouldn’t stay open any longer. In the years to come, however, I hope he feels the same sense of comfort and calm as he craws into the big bed for stories. I hope he associates words with warmth and books with love and the sound of my reading voice with happiness.

My boy won’t remember helping make our family brunch or stirring the hot chocolate and the snow ice cream, we’ve started traditions that I hope we’ll continue for years to come. As he grow and changes, I hope that he’ll look forward to each year’s first snow and the special treats that will come along with it. I hope as the air cools he’ll smile at the thought of hot chocolate and check the pantry and the refrigerator for ingredients and that, as he cracks and mixes and stirs, he feels connected to years past and years to come.

My beautiful son won’t remember the wetness of the snow or the cool of the air, the pink of his hands or the aches that come along with coming into the warm again. He won’t remember the thrill of his first sled ride or the way the wind blew through his hair as he tumbled down the little hill. I hope, though that the fun he had during the snow will spark a love of the outdoors and an association between joy and open air.

My boy is too little to remember tomorrow the things that we did last month. In time, the little bits of recall from our wonderland weekend will slip away from him forever.

But I’ll remember. I’ll remember it all. And through my memories, and the experiences my husband and I create for him in the years to come, the weekend will live on within him.

5 Links About Skiing and Snowboarding to Share with Curious Kids

These skiers and snowboarders take winter shredding to the next level.

Share quick links with your kids curated by Today Box. Today Box curates fun, educational videos and media for curious kids, parents and educators.

View past Internet Field Trips here.


Week of February 1, 2016

LED Night Suits

How can you up your game on the mountain at night? LED snowsuits.

flares

Or you could flare it up like this guy.

oneyearoldsnowboarder

You don’t have to be potty trained to shred some pow like this one-year-old.

Chloe Kim

Or out of middle school like Chloe Kim, who won a gold medal at the X Games.

sun dog

And you can always take your dog.

View past Internet Field Trips here.

View over 1,200 amazing kid-friendly posts on Today Box.

10 Solutions to Winter’s Most Annoying Parenting Problems

Here in Vermont, it’s been winter for approximately 1000 days. It’s time to solve the season’s biggest problems, from dry skin to wet boots on floor.

Up here in Vermont, it’s already been winter for approximately one thousand days. We’ve fielded questions from our kids like “Will I ever feel my face again?,” “Why don’t we live in Hawaii?” and “You want me to go play outside? Do you hate me?” for weeks now.

 

 

If parenting is difficult on the blissfully warm, grab and go sort of days, adding a layer of ice, snow, and complaining has the potential to make it nearly unbearable. While completely unscientific, I approximate that there is 85% more crying in my house December-April than the rest of the year. (And that’s just from me.)

I want to embrace winter. Really, I do.

For one thing, it would certainly be in my best interest to actually enjoy this, the season that never ends. With that in mind, this year, I signed my ten year old up for snowboarding lessons.

He (hopefully) cultivates a lifelong love of a sport, and I get to stay home in my pajamas on Saturday mornings, drinking coffee and maintaining circulation in my toes. Everybody wins!

To be fair, it’s an uphill battle. There is seemingly an endless stream of reasons to unabashedly despise this time of year.

And because misery loves company, I asked a couple thousand of my Facebook friends to weigh in on their #winterparentproblems, with added bonus points for sharing ways they’ve found to make it better. Turns out, it’s a discussion everyone wants to have.

Here’s the general consensus of complaint.

1. Wet boots all over the floor

It’s not like the kids leaving their shoes in a heap right in front of the door is strictly a seasonal thing, however, the sheer bulk of boots in combination with salt and sloppy puddles makes for an elevated level of irritation.

The jury is still out of whether my children have learned ALL THE SWEARS on the occasions I’ve stepped in those puddles with socked feet, but hey, it’s only January. Plenty of time to fill out the vocabulary.

Fix it

You could assemble one of these. Of course a giant, easily accessed tray full of river rocks could be some parent’s worst nightmare, in which case, you could opt for a less throwable/chokable cabinet liner in the tray instead.

dollarstorecrafts.com
dollarstorecrafts.com

 

2. Wet clothes left in the bag

 

Filed under “Are You Even Serious Right Now,” would be the morning confession that the kid’s gloves, hat, and snow pants have been left to fester, wet, balled up in a plastic bag all night.

Fix it

Of course if the kid is of the age where this should be their responsibility, it’s a lesson they may only need to learn a few times. They either play in wet clothes or miss time outside, neither being a super rad option. 

For the littler people, well, this scenario is likely your fault. But you managed to bring the right bundled kid home from daycare or preschool, so whatever. You can’t win all the time. Chances are you have a back up set, as kids this age sit in mud puddles just for fun. If you don’t, hit the second hand store ASAP.

One hot tip I learned to dry mittens faster- slide toilet paper tubes inside mittens to maximize aeration. Genius.

Stuff newspaper into boots or invest in one of these fancy boot dryers.

3. Lost gear

Remember the poor little kittens who lost their mittens? Remember how they DID IT FOR THE NINTH TIME AND THEIR MOTHER WENT TOTALLY APESHIT AND SENT THEM BACK TO SCHOOL TWELVE MILES ON FOOT TO FIND THEM? That’s the way that little ditty went, right?

Can someone explain to me how a child leaves the house with a coat in sub-zero temps and manages to return home without it? 

There are two camps here. The kids who should be old enough to keep track of their own things, and the kids who are not. Last year, when my third grader misplaced his boots, he was on the hook to pay for a replacement.

The deal is, my husband and I provide the first round of gear. Lose it, and it’s your money that buys the next. Miraculously, they turned up just days later.

My four year old, on the other hand came home from school on the very first day that she had been sent with snow pants and informed me, “I had to borrow today because mine weren’t in my cubby.” You know, the same ones that had been hung up at drop off not fifteen minutes before. Haven’t seen those suckers since.

Fix it

Label, label, and label again. Label everything down to their damn socks. Then teach them how to identify their stuff. How many pairs of pink snow pants could be floating around one classroom? FOUR DOZEN. Approximately.

Get everyone on board with taking inventory. Tuck mittens into the hat and the hat into the sleeve of the coat.

Buy a pair of these super handy mitten clips.  

Send the younger ones to school in hand me downs, back ups, and mismatches.

4. ALL OF THE SICKNESS

 

Winter turns my house into a round robin of sniffles, vomiting, coughing, and vomiting again. A couple years ago I decided to stash a bucket under my kids’ beds from the moment the first leaf falls until we bust out the bathing suits. I’m not playing around in the middle of the night when someone inevitably wakes up like Linda Blair. Everywhere is a GD petri dish, and kids find a way to sneeze DIRECTLY INTO YOUR MOUTH.

Fix it

Wash your hands frequently. Obvs.

Use a new toothbrush after a round of colds or flu or whatever nasties may befall your household. 

Drink more water.

Don’t be the person that shows up at the party with the snotty kid. Extend the courtesy of keeping your family’s germs to yourselves.

5. The added risk of falling on ice, especially while holding a small person

 

I never felt more proud of my maternal instincts than the time I was wearing my dozing infant, slipped on black ice and managed to fall in such a way that I not only avoided cracking her skull open, but I also absorbed every iota of impact while she remained COMPLETELY ASLEEP.

Fix it

Because the likelihood of horrifically falling was far greater than doing it again gracefully, I took a page from the mailman handbook and bought a sweet pair of these ice grippers that slide right over your shoes.

6. Cabin fever

Whether your kids love winter or not, there’s no contesting the fact that they spend far more time indoors these months than others. It’s dark before dinner, everything takes more planning, and even the heartiest get cold eventually.

Screen time is up, physical activity is down, and everyone is just that much closer to sticking their head in the oven.

Fix it

This was a seasoned group of parents that I polled. Most are life long east coasters who have slogged through a collective 8 MILLION WINTERS and lived to tell the tale. Some of my favorite suggestions were:

Jogging trampoline. Whether you throw it down in the basement or allow it to take up prime real estate right smack in the middle of the living room, it doesn’t matter. Just go ahead and encourage them to jump, jump, JUMP until their head feels loose. 

Clear out space in the garage or basement where they can roll around on whatever wheels they prefer. Set up a space heater.

Yoga balls are great for bouncing.

Crib mattresses are also great for dragging to the floor and jumping on.

Glue felt to the bottom of an old skateboard deck and let them carpet surf.

Consult our Pinterest boards that are full of awesome ideas to keep kids busy, making art, and learning science.

And, if all else falls, there’s always mall walking.

7. All of the dryness

 

So, how does it feel to live in the Sahara? Do you like waking up like someone shoved cotton balls all the way down your throat? Enjoying those chapped lips? How about the horror stories that have been relayed to me about the kids who apply the same finesse they use to piss all over the toilet seat to their weekly bloody nose? At least 3 people told me they’ve recently washed blood off walls. Come ON. Winter, you’re the worst.

Fix it

Put a bottle of lotion next to the soap at every sink. Apply after each hand washing. 

Buy a small army of humidifiers.

Maybe watch a few episodes of Dexter so you can really nail the clean up process.

8. Maintaining car seat safety while keeping the kid warm

This is the new frontier of parenting woes. (Legit, mind you. I’m not trying to be dramatic.) Lord knows our parents threw us into the back of our tuna can of a family car without so much as a car seat. Times have changed. Now we all know phrases like, “five point harness” and “latch system.”

On top of that, we now all know that you aren’t supposed to wrestle a kid and their Stay Puft Marshmallow Man coat into the seat. But how are you supposed to manage wrangling them out into the cold, into the car, back into the cold, back into the car while keeping them safe and avoiding the side eye of every Judgy Know It All who is certain your child is going to get pneumonia?

Fix it

This is the most comprehensive write up available on how to properly manage this situation. The Car Seat Lady FTW.

There are coats that squish enough under car seat straps to pass muster. Here are some great suggestions.

9. Scathing jealousy of those on vacations in warm climates

 

tina fey rude

Seriously, jerks. Stop with your Facebrag photos of palm trees and your stupid pedicured toes in the sand. Since I know you’re out of town, Imma head to your house and cover your windows in my kid’s sticker collection.

Fix it

Hide them, unfriend them, and make new friends who are so deep in student debt they won’t be taking a vacation until 2048.

10. Time spent preparing vs. time actually spent outside

 

Holy hell, if this isn’t the resounding cry of winter weary parents everywhere. First of all, I’m certain it takes astronauts less time to gear up for a mission to Mars than it does to wrangle a rabid squirrel dipped in vaseline toddler into winter gear. And if you have more than one to dress, forget it. Don’t even bother. Building a ship in a bottle, then backing over it with your car is probably a more productive use of time.

Fix it

Allegedly, these mittens are a favorite among daycare providers. 

Let them pick out really ugly stuff that you’d never choose, but they are excited about. It may not be the warmest, but it’ll be warmer than the stuff you buy and they refuse to wear.

For the kids who get snow in between their coat sleeves and mittens and act like they’ve been set on fire, these mittens are essential

Honorable mentions (with little to no solutions.)

When your kids have a snow day, but you still have to work.

Winter sports are EXPENSIVE.

Teenagers who refuse to dress appropriately.

All the extra time you have to pad onto leaving the house (or anywhere)

Dirty, salt streaked car, inside and out.

Frozen glasses. (My favorite contribution, hands down. “Dealing with frozen glasses. My kid was pissed about the ice on his eyewear and threw them down to the floor the other day. We’re waiting on the new pair for him to break.”)

5 Winter Links to Share With Your Curious Kids

Share quick links with your kids curated by Today Box. Today Box curates fun, educational videos and media for curious kids, parents and educators.

View past Internet Field Trips here.


 

Week of January 18, 2016

 

What happens when you blow soap bubbles when it’s -15 outside?

 

 

Carve up some deep pow with this Lego freeskier!

 

 

Shred down the mountain like a girl in Jackson Hole.

 

Photo credit: Sonja Hinrichsen

 

View spectacular snow drawings by artist Sonja Hinrichsen.

 

Yuki-taro eats snow and poops out snow bricks. Snow fort, anyone?

 

View past Internet Field Trips here.
View over 1,100 amazing kid-friendly posts on Today Box.

A Checklist to Keep the Family Safe in Winter Storms

Here’s how to keep the family prepared, safe, and even cozy during powerful winter storms.

As a New Englander, I’m familiar with the power of fierce winter storms. There’s no denying their beauty – or their potential for damage and harm.

Even when they’re not dangerous, blizzards and snow days create havoc with schedules, commuting and childcare.

But they can also bring families together for some of the coziest days of the year. 

A key to dealing with stormy days – and even enjoying them – is preparing for the worst. This includes power and water outages, and not being able to drive on the roads.

Family safety comes first.

Many preparedness experts suggest a family communications plan in case of emergencies. This is an excellent idea.

Your family may not be together when a winter storm hits, so it is important to know how you will contact one another in an emergency, and how you will get back together when it is safe to travel again. A storm may overwhelm landline and cellular phone systems. You may need to use text messaging or social media to communicate with family and friends.

Keep important numbers written down in your wallet in case you cannot access the contact list in your phone. For more information, including a sample household communications plan, visit www.ready.gov/make-a-pla

Stay Informed

The Red Cross has a free app with real-time severe weather alerts and safety information. Text GETEMERGENCY to 90999 or search “Red Cross Emergency” in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

Get a radio with NOAA Weather Radio, if possible (as noted below).

Plan for a 3-Day Disruption

While a powerful winter storm may pass in less than 24 hours, cleaning up and restoring services like power and water can take days.

Don’t just plan for the day of the storm; stock up for at least three days.

 Checklist + Shopping List for a Winter Storm

This is a modified version of a list from the American Red Cross. It includes a few extra items and gear suggestions.

__ Prescription and other Medications (7-day supply) and other medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc.)

__ Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)

__ Pet food & other required pet supplies

__ Sanitation and personal hygiene items.

__ Toilet paper. Stock up.

__ Water —at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day.

__Food—at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food. Here’s a list from Real Simple of “Best Foods to Stockpile for an Emergency.”

__Flashlight. The Energizer LED 2 in 1 handheld flashlight has a built in area light (handy), comes with batteries and is highly rated on Amazon. 

__ Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible) The Mightyhand is top-rated on Amazon and less than $25.

__ Extra batteries

__ First aid kit. The Dixie EMS First Responder kit is $40 and fully stocked. But what you need are basics like a variety of bandages, latex gloves, antibiotic cream, gauze and medical tape. Here’s how to make your first aid kit from the Red Cross.

__ Cell phone with chargers. An external cell phone battery is great, but make sure it’s fully charged before the power goes out. The $29  Amazon portable power bank can fully recharge a smartphone nine times on a single charge. Don’t forget that you can always recharge a cell phone from the car battery in a pinch.

__ Warm coats, gloves or mittens, hats, boots and other warm clothing ready to go for everyone.

__ Sleeping bags and extra blankets for everyone. 

__ Fill your car’s tank with gas, even if you’re not planning on driving anywhere.

__ Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)

__ Family and emergency contact information. Many people only have this information on their smartphones. What happens when the battery dies? Write it down and keep it someplace safe. 

__ Extra cash

__ Tools/supplies for securing your home

__ Sand, rock salt or non-clumping kitty litter to make walkways and steps less slippery

__ Backup heating methods

There are many checklists available online to help prepare for winter storms. The CDC and Ready.gov have useful lists for winter storm preparedness that include reminders for easy-to-overlook items, like medications, pet food and baby supplies.

FEMA has an exhaustive guide to Winter Preparedness. Download “How to Prepare for a Winter Storm” here.

Heating the House if the Power Goes Out

It’s important to know how your home is heated. If you have a natural gas or oil furnace, find out if it still works without electricity, or if it has a pilot light that needs to be lit manually.

If your home heating system doesn’t work without electricity, consider what kind of temporary alternate heating source might work for you.

NEVER use generators, outdoor heating or cooking equipment, such as a grill, camp stove, or a gasoline or propane heater, indoors. Carbon monoxide is a danger for those heat sources. NEVER heat a home with a cook stove.

Many people use kerosene space heaters. I prefer the Mr. Heater Portable Radiant Propane Heater.

Maintain ventilation when using kerosene or propane heaters to avoid carbon monoxide build-up.

Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them, at least, three feet from flammable objects

Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms.

If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate).

Posted on Categories TKTags

Winter: Sometimes It’s Just Not Worth It

1544325_10152548315488404_2187480154250567794_n

Today is that sort of cold that makes you wonder if we’re really supposed to be living on the planet. I’m fairly certain I heard the mailman muttering something about “not signing up for this crap” as he dropped my very important 56th Kohl’s coupon of the week into the mailbox.

It’s only Wednesday.

It snowed over the weekend, yet there’s only one set of tracks through the snow in the backyard. They lead directly to the shed where the shovel is kept. Know why? Because I’ve finally embraced the fact that WE ARE NOT WINTER PEOPLE. Hell, I scraped snow off my car with a flip flop for the first 3 years I lived in Vermont.

I’ve tried. Lord knows I’ve tried. Her first Christmas, my daughter’s big gift was a beautiful heirloom wooden sled. “It will be great”, I said. “We’ll be outside all the time!’, I said.

Do not be fooled by the joyous looks on their faces. Only moments later it all went completely to shit and I had to make him get out and walk because he was too damn heavy and she wailed because the snowflakes had the audacity to continue to fall on her face after the novelty had worn off.
Do not be fooled by the joyous looks on their faces. Only moments later it all went completely to crap and I had to make him get out and walk because he was too damn heavy and she wailed because the snowflakes had the audacity to continue to fall on her face after the novelty had worn off.

I think in the three years we’ve had it, we’ve used it annually. As in three times. Total.

Mostly because going outside in winter is like this:

“Hey guys! Let’s go play in the snow! Doesn’t it look so beautiful out there? Come on! Get dressed!’

Bear in mind I am 100% FAKING ENTHUSIASM. Every muscle in my body is tensed with the thought of having to go out there hating everything about life the entire time.

“Ugh, do we have to?”

“YES! IT WILL BE AWESOME NOW GO FIND EVERY ARTICLE OF CLOTHING YOU OWN.”

Over the course of the next 25 minutes we locate boots (at least one kid’s are too small), three pairs of dollar store stretchy gloves that are basically useless after October 15th, a single mitten of a pair that are warm enough but somehow last winter managed to start smelling like feet no matter how many times they were washed, and four hats (only two of which actually cover ears sufficiently). The snow pant situation is under control, thankfully.

Still in the basement digging around for things to keep myself warm, upstairs it’s apparent that either a roving band of rabid raccoons has staged a Braveheart style battle in our living room, or my nine year old is frustrated putting on some god forsaken piece of gear.

I march up to help/yell.

“Dude! Put the pants on FIRST. Boots SECOND. Seriously.”

Help me. This sucks already.

I cram the toddler into 2 pair of wooly socks, a set of long underwear and a sweater before she tells me she has to “take a dump”.

“Ughhhh! MOM! I’M GETTING HOT.”

“Then go outside. We’ll meet you. I don’t control the girl’s bowels.”

Shoving him out the door, I then shuffle her into the bathroom and wiggle her out of the sweater and saying a silent “don’t let a turd roll out” prayer, slide the long underwear down.

We’re in good shape as she sits down and I wait. And wait. She sings a mash up of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” “Tomorrow” from Annie and Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball”. She asks me to paint her toenails while she finishes. I decline.

“Come on, girl! Your brother is waiting for us. Let’s wrap this show up.”

“Ok. I’m done.”

Business taken care of, I get her dressed all the way except for the mittens. On the list of “Things I’m going to miss about having a toddler”, finding rotting bananas in the tupperware drawer and being woken up by a cranium to the face courtesy of a fitful sleeper would be higher than applying hand coverings to what are essentially whining wet noodles.

“Work with me. Do this.” I hold my hand up, four fingers extended straight and pressed together with my thumb as far away from them as physically possible.

She tries and as soon as the fleece encompasses her hand, it goes limp. Thumb nowhere near where it’s supposed to be.

“No. Try again. This.” Repeat.

“My fumb, mama?”

“Yes.Your thumb. In the hole.”

Five minutes and two dozen tries later, I’m sweating like a wildebeest in my down coat, which I’ve watched enough Survivor Man to know means CERTAIN DEATH BY HYPOTHERMIA and the fun is ONLY JUST BEGINNING.

I open the door to head out and almost slam it right into my son who is huddled in a ball on the steps like a vagabond, and clearly has been since I kicked him out.

“I want to go inside now. Please.”

“Come ON! We just got out here! Let’s build a snowman!”

My inner monologue is peppered with expletives.

I march out into the yard making fresh tracks. The toddler’s eyes have begun to water and a single tear spills out and runs down her right cheek. She stands in one spot refusing to move.

“Fine. I’ll come to you. Help me shape the snow into a ball.”

Very slowly she reaches down to scoop up some snow.

“OH NO! IT’S IN MY GLUB! MY HAND IS COLD! IT HUWHTS!”

My son has ascended to the top step inching his way to the warmth of the inside when he thinks I’m not looking.

I’ve been outside all of four minutes.

Next time, instead of going outside, we’ll just build a ship in a bottle and then back over it with the car.